'Reckless' overtake to blame for A39 Cannington crash

'Reckless' overtake to blame for A39 Cannington crash

'Reckless' overtake to blame for A39 Cannington crash

First published in Taunton

FOUR people were killed in a horrific crash at Cannington when a driver misjudged a “reckless” overtake and lost control at high-speed on a blind bend, an inquest heard.

Jeffrey Hinton, 68, of West Street, Bridgwater, died when the VW Passat he was driving crashed head-on into a Vauxhall Astra on the A39 heading the opposite direction towards Bridgwater.

Percy Darby, 76, his wife Anne, 73 and Susan Fellows, 59, all from the West Midlands, were passengers in the Astra and died in the collision on June 5 last year.

The driver was treated in hospital and survived.

At the inquest into their deaths at Taunton’s Old Municipal Building today (January 15), it was said that Mr Hinton, a widower, was trying to overtake a 4x4 and caravan and had a near miss with a lorry travelling the other direction.

Marcus Garratt, who was in the car behind Mr Hinton, said: “I cringed – I didn’t think there was going to be enough room.

“The Passat came back onto the correct side of the road then accelerated into the bend. He must’ve been travelling at 70mph.”

Drivers heading in the other direction described Mr Hinton ‘fighting’ with the steering wheel, but ultimately he lost control of the car and smashed into the oncoming Astra.

He was already travelling at speed in order to overtake the caravan when the bend approached, it was said.

At the time of Mr Hinton’s death, friends described him as “kind-hearted and generous” with an “amazing sense of humour.”

West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose returned verdicts of accidental death for all four victims.

He said: “This is one of the most serious roads in my jurisdiction and every single death on it is as a result of human error.

“I’ve not seen such a serious lack of control of a car as I have seen today for a long time. I do not know why he took this stupid action – it was a reckless and careless overtake.”

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