Tragic driver may have blacked out

AN EAST Dean resident who died after colliding with a car could have blacked out at the wheel, an inquest heard.

Patricia Harrington, of Elven Lane, had a few episodes of collapsing and on one occasion had lost consciousness.

The 80-year-old was driving a Toyota Yaris west along the A259 at East Dean on January 26 this year when she hit another vehicle.

She was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and died the next day.

Witnesses at the inquest, held at Eastbourne Magistrates Court, told how her vehicle had suddenly crossed into the eastbound carriageway and hit a Volkswagen Golf driven by Raheal Miah from Eastbourne.

The inquest heard she had been referred to a cardiologist on occasions and that she had suffered episodes of blacking out.

However, while being monitored for a period of time no signs of a blackout were discovered.

Mrs Harrington’s daughter told the inquest that she had spoken to her mother daily and that she had not discussed any medical problems.

Coroner Alan Craze asked Dr Daniella Penge of Green Street Clinic if it was possible she had had a black out.

“It’s possible because she had them before, which no-one could find a particular cause for,” she said.

“She had not had one for a long time.”

A post mortem showed she had numerous internal injuries and gave her cause of death as multiple injuries due to a road traffic accident.

Colette Archer, from Seaford, was travelling eastbound behind the Volkswagen Golf and said Mrs Harrington’s car narrowly missed her own.

She said it had been a clear day, adding, “The vehicle coming towards me – I wasn’t aware there was anything wrong with it – it past me very close.

“I said to my husband that was close and glanced in my mirror. I heard and saw the impact with the car behind.”

Witnesses said that the Volkswagen Golf had been in the correct lane and that the Toyota Yaris had veered or turned slightly and crossed the central line.

Mr Miah told the inquest, “I remember my friend shouting, by the time he finished shouting, we had been hit.

“I did not see her coming towards me.”

Mr Miah and his passenger had hospital treatment after the smash.

PC Andrew Wilson-Law, from the Sussex Police Forensic Crash Investigation Road Unit, said the two vehicles had not shown any mechanical defects, adding “It is, I would suggest, reasonable to consider she may have suffered a medical event while in the vehicle.

“The Toyota Yaris failed to stay in the westbound lane while negotiating a slight left hand bend.”

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of death by road traffic accident.