Blackspot claims life of teenage driver

Hannah Lodge
Hannah Lodge
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The parents of a teenage motorist who died after hitting a telegraph pole and weather station have welcomed calls to change their layout, after a coroner branded them a “continuing hazard.”

Hannah Lodge, 18, died after her car overturned after smashing into the pole and station on her way to Scarborough on the B1249 last November.

Catherine and Mark Lodge, of Wetwang, said their daughter was “beautiful, talented, caring, determined, hardworking – and above all never reckless”.

The weather station was demolished in the accident and live cables were left strewn over the road. Miss Lodge was pronounced dead at the scene.

After the accident Mr Lodge discovered a “plethora” of unreported incidents at the spot, as well as seven accidents, including four serious ones.

Last July the power cables were knocked down after another motorist collided with the pole.

According to the manager of the adjacent land, 12 vehicles came off the road in the three years to 2013, ending up “in his hedge bottom” and on the morning of the tragedy two other motorists had lost control on the same stretch.

Mr Lodge told the inquest: “It seemed fairly clear to me having gathered statements from people who had experienced difficulties and loss of control that there were indeed a significant pattern of incidents.”

The inquest heard, however, that Humberside Police had only recorded three previous accidents in recent years, in dissimilar circumstances.

Miss Lodge had overtaken lorrydriver Mariano Ziccardi minutes before the accident but he said her speed was not excessive.

Accident investigator Alfred Place said tyremarks suggested Miss Lodge, who had passed her driving test weeks previously, lost control, probably after she overcompensated after positioning her car on the extreme nearside at the apex of a bend.

There were no defects found with her car.

He said: “The reason for such positioning is speculative but likely factors would be inexperience, inappropriate speed for the severity of the bend, and or a momentary distraction at a crucial time.”

Hull and East Riding coroner Prof Paul Marks said the outcome of the accident may have been different if the station or the pole hadn’t been present. They are just a few feet apart.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, he said he would write to East Riding Council, adding: “The unique combination and siting of the pole and weather station, in my opinion represents a continuing hazard on that stretch of the B1249.”

Prof Marks said Hannah was bright, clearly talented and about to enter life with everything to look forward to, adding: “She was by all accounts a careful driver.”

Afterwards, Mrs Lodge said they would like to see both the station and the pole removed. The weather station was bought back after the accident but was subjected to graffiti saying it was “disrespectful” before being removed before Easter. East Riding Council said they would wait for the coroner’s letter before making a decision.