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A358 death crash driver finally says 'sorry'
A TEENAGE driver who crashed his car, killing his 17-year-old girlfriend, had promised her mother he would drive carefully just weeks before her death, an inquest heard.
At the hearing into the death of Bethany-Paige Adams, of Williton, 18-year-old Charlie Blanford-Corp, also revealed Bethany had told him to slow down on another occasion weeks earlier.
Bethany died at the scene from her injuries.
The teenager, of Staunton Road, was given an 18-month driving ban and suspended jail term after he admitted causing death by careless driving at Taunton Magistrates’ Court earlier this year. Bethany’s family had criticised the teenager for failing to say ‘sorry’ during the case but at the inquest into her death on Tuesday, Mr Blandford-Corp did finally apologise.
The hearing at Minehead’s former magistrates’ court, heard evidence from Land Rover Discovery driver Oliver Bircher, of Crowcombe, who saw the Citroen being driven down Halsway Hill at up to 80mph before the driver lost control.
The inquest heard how Mr Blandford-Corp told a driver who stopped at the scene he believed he had been driving too fast and thought mud on the road had been a factor in the incident.
But collision investigators found no mud on the road surface that would have caused loss of control and a report showed the speedometer was frozen on 66mph – 6mph above the speed limit.
On the stand, Mr Blandford-Corp told Bethany’s family solicitor Roger Henderson he could not remember how fast he had been driving or why he overtook two cars before the crash, including once over double white lines. He said: “I was in no hurry to get back home.”
But the teenager said he did remember a conversation with Bethany’s mum on Christmas Day in which he promised he would drive carefully. He also revealed that although Bethany had not asked him to slow down on the day of the crash, she had done so weeks earlier when he was driving at 40mph in a 30mph zone.
When asked by West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose if he had any words for her family, he said: “I would like to say I am sorry for the damage I have caused.”
Bethany, a care support worker at Croft House, left behind parents Helen and Mark, brother Liam and sister Danielle, who marked her 18th birthday on Sunday by playing bingo as she had planned.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Rose said: “I am certain the driver did not adhere to the speed limit. He was a novice and being inexperienced I think he overcorrected when he saw the Discovery coming in the other direction.
“He had given an assurance to Beth’s mother that he wouldn’t exceed the speed limit. I think he is fortunate to have been prosecuted for the lesser charge. It is a tragedy no parent wishes to see unfold.”