Coroner tells of sadness at road accident death

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A PORTUGUESE woman who was killed when she ran out in front of a car had ‘very nearly’ made it across the road, an inquest has heard.

Maria Figueira from Madeira, who was visiting her daughter Ana Ipeku in Eastbourne, died following a road accident on Lottbridge Drove on July 14, 2010.

An inquest into the 60-year-old’s death was heard at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon (January 13).

Ugochukwu Ndubuisi, the driver of the BMW four-wheel drive which hit Mrs Figueira, said he had been ‘traumatised’ by the tragic accident.

Three other drivers who were travelling passed B&Q at the time of the accident gave evidence at the inquest and told the coroner and Mrs Figueira’s family that there was nothing Mr Ndubuisi could have done to avoid the fatal collision.

The inquest heard Mrs Figueira had been waiting to cross the road with her daughter and granddaughter when she stepped in to the road, leaving her family on the pavement.

She had made it to the centre of the road and narrowly missed a van in the right-hand lane on the north-bound carriageway towards Hampden Park but was hit just before she reached the kerb after running into the path of the BMW which was travelling in the left-hand lane.

Mr Ndubuisi was visibly upset as he gave evidence.

He said, “All of a sudden I saw this object right in front of me and I hit my brakes but I collided with the lady. I nearly, nearly missed her.

“I didn’t even park my car properly because I was in such shock afterwards.

“I was very traumatised. I have never seen anything like that before.”

Daniel Herbert, the van driver who narrowly missed Mrs Figueira, said his van and the BMW were travelling no faster than 30 mph.

Mr Herbert said, “I managed to come to a complete stop because I thought I was going to hit her first.

“My van is quite high so it would have been very hard for her to have been seen by the BMW driver.”

Mrs Figueira was taken to Eastbourne DGH but died as a result of her injuries while in the operating theatre at the hospital.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of road traffic accident and said, “It is sad because she had very, very nearly made it. Her daughter knows perfectly well that she shouldn’t have been crossing at that time. That is why she remained on the pavement with the child.”