Inquest: Kendal woman died after collision between car and coach on Kirkstone Pass

A 101-year-old woman died of multiple injuries after a car she was travelling in was in collision with a coach on the Kirkstone Pass, an inquest was told.

Rene Gladice Foster lived at Blackhall Croft, Kendal, and was travelling with her carer, 57-year-old Lesley Todkill, in a Kia Picanto on June 19 last year.

Ms Todkill was unable to attend the inquest, which was told that, in a statement, she said her car was stationary at the time of the incident.

Witnesses from Cumbria police and the driver of the coach gave detailed evidence. Antony Hall, from Cambridge, was driving the Mercedes coach that was carrying passengers who were visiting the Lake District for a few days.

Mr Hall, who was travelling at 25 miles per hour before the collision, said: “We stopped at the Kirkstone Pass Inn for tea and coffee for about an hour and then we started travelling towards Ambleside. I saw the vehicle coming towards me, it was a clear view ahead. I was not aware of any problem that the car had until it had hit the front off side of the coach. I have no idea how it happened.”

Collision investigator PC Richard Wiejak gave evidence regarding the scene of the crash on the A592 and the following forensic and scientific tests that were done after the accident.

PC Wiejak said that there was a rock protruding from the bank of the A592 and it was clear that the wheel of the car had been in contact with it.

“The evidence was that there was a rock protruding out of the bank and it was clear from the damage to the rock and the wheel that the two had been in contact,” he said.

He said the rock had caused the car to swerve in an anti-clockwise direction, with the car then hitting the coach.

Fire crews had to cut Ms Foster out of the car and she was flown by North West Air Ambulance to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary where she later died.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, South Lakes coroner Ian Smith said: “The cause of death is multiple injuries. It was very difficult to get her out of the vehicle and that kind of trauma, both mental and physical, was too much of an impact for her.”

A statement from Ms Foster’s family released after her death described the 101-year-old as having a ‘fantastically varied life’ and she had a ‘strength of character, generosity of spirit’ and a ‘bright and witty outlook’ on life.

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