A RETIRED secretary died from multiple injuries following a horrific nine vehicle collision on the M6.

An inquest at County Hall in Kendal heard Sandra McDonald-Martin, 69, was a passenger in a vehicle travelling north close to Tebay on March 28 last year when a sudden dramatic weather change made driving conditions “treacherous”.

The car in which Mrs McDonald-Martin was travelling, which was being driven by her husband Christopher, hit a vehicle which had come to a stop due to a major collision on the carriageway, causing her fatal injuries.

Mrs McDonald-Martin had been travelling from her home in Southampton with her husband and their dog to visit relatives in Scotland when the incident happened.

The inquest heard how there had been an abrupt change in the weather with a sudden hailstorm.

Collision investigator PC Nicola Welton said dashcam footage showed a number of vehicles lost control due to the hail settling on a short section of the motorway just before J38 which meant the road was covered in ice.

She said a grey BMW lost control and was in collision with the central reservation barrier before rebounding on the carriageway and “straddling” lanes one and two. This led to a white Mercedes Sprinter van colliding with the front of the vehicle.

The driver of a Volvo HGV, who was driving behind, managed to stop before the collision and positioned the HGV in a way to prevent other motorists going past.

The inquest was told a Volkswagen Crafter van driver saw the stationary HGV in lane one and lane two and slowed to a stop before hearing a “loud bang” and being “shunted” forward.

The inquest was told Mr McDonald-Martin, a former driving instructor, was at the wheel of his Ford Mondeo when he lost control and the passenger side of the vehicle, where his wife was sat, was severely impacted when it hit the back of the VW Crafter. The car spun again to hit the rear of the HGV.

Assistant county coroner Margaret Taylor concluded that Mrs McDonald-Martin died as a consequence of a road traffic collision but stressed her husband had done nothing wrong.

“You had no control of the weather,” she said. “And you were driving in a safe manner as you have done so for many years. The major contributing factor was the change in weather that could not have been anticipated. The motorway was like an ice rink.”

Mr McDonald-Martin, who was in an induced coma for three weeks after the incident, expressed his thanks to the paramedics who helped at the scene and said he was devastated by the loss of his wife and his best friend of 56 years.