Woman who died in crash at Winkhill was not wearing seatbelt, inquest hears
CRASH victim Liberty Turner was not wearing a seatbelt while travelling in the back seat of a car being driven by her teenage sister, an inquest heard.
Liberty, who worked as a waitress at Alton Towers, died in a head-on collision at Winkhill, near Leek, last July.
Her 17-year-old sister Imogen Turner suffered serious injuries after her Renault Megane lost control and veered into the path of a Ford Transit van in Ellastone Road.
The hours leading up to the crash were recounted at an inquest into the 20-year-old's death yesterday, where North Staffordshire deputy coroner Anthony Curzon recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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Mr Curzon said Liberty suffered fatal injuries as a result of not wearing a seatbelt, and offered his condolences to the family.
He said: "This is a very tragic matter.
"The deceased was not wearing a seatbelt, which caused her to be thrown from her seat. She suffered serious injuries as a result and was pronounced dead at the scene."
Liberty's mother, Fiona Knox, said her daughter had been at her grandparents' house in Rosebank Street, Leek, before the accident, where she was drinking rose wine.
Imogen, who also worked at Alton Towers, had finished her shift shortly after midnight on July 27, and came to collect Imogen along with their friend Joshua Fenton. The sisters were intending to travel from Leek to Uttoxeter, where their mother lived.
Stephen Deall, a collision investigations officer from Staffordshire Police, said it was not possible to say why the car lost control, but confirmed seatbelts in the rear of the car, where Liberty was seated, had not been used.
He said the crash could have been due to excessive speed, poor judgment, or a combination of the two.
Imogen's friend Joshua Fenton, who escaped the crash with only minor injuries, said Imogen had a row with Liberty because she did not want to pick her up so late.
He said: "I thought she was driving more erratically then usual."
Both Mr Fenton and the driver of the Ford Transit, Stewart Cunningham, gave vivid accounts of the aftermath of the crash, which happened at around 1.20am.
The emergency services soon arrived and Mr Cunningham, who was absolved of any blame, received hospital treatment.
Tests revealed Imogen had not been drinking and, although a file was prepared by the Crown Prosecution Service, no further criminal proceedings were taken.
Mr Curzon said: "I hope Imogen goes on to make a recovery.
"She has clearly gone through a substantial loss and is going to have to live with it for the rest of her life."