Accident investigators have been unable to find the cause of a collision in which 94-year-old WW2 veteran Connie Sharples tragically died.Advertisement
Connie, who famously served in the all-female Royal Artillery, lost control of her blue Fiat Panda in Duddle Lane, Walton-le-Dale on May 14.
Her devastated family says they will never know why she was out in the car at 7.20am that morning, and neither doctors or accident investigators and medics have been able to find any reason for the collision.
Her niece, Bev Hinchcliff, said: “I miss her terribly.”
An inquest at Preston Coroners’ Court heard Connie was at the wheel of her car when it veered into the opposite lane and into the path of an oncoming Volkswagen van.
Connie suffered severe neck and spinal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Area coroner Richard Taylor said: “There was no evidence the driver of the Volkswagen was doing anything other than travelling normally in his own lane.
“There was no evidence of any defect in the Fiat and no evidence of mobile phone use.
“There was no evidence of any braking.”
A post mortem examination, carried out by Home Office Pathologist Dr Alison Armer, found nothing to suggest Connie had suffered a medical episode at the wheel.
The coroner concluded: “Given the circumstances I return a conclusion of road traffic collision and make a finding that Constance Sharples died on May 14 on Duddle Lane, Walton-le-Dale, from injuries sustained when she lost control of the vehicle she was driving, which struck a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction in its own carriageway.
Read more: Tributes to woman, 94, who died in Walton-leDale collision
Speaking after the inquest, Connie’s niece Bev said: “We have never been able to fathom what she was doing out at that time.
“If she hadn’t been driving she would still be with us today.
“The sad thing is she had decided to give up driving and had sold the car, but the sale fell through.
“Connie was very outgoing and quite flirty – very funny, and very, very kind.
“She would give anybody anything, her last penny, and she had a wicked sense of humour.
“She had travelled the world, and she thought the world of me and her friends.
“Even though she was 94 she was quite robust. The coroner told us after the post mortem that she had the lungs of a 60-year-old. She had been married twice and widowed twice and was just so independent.
“She did all her own housework, her own shopping, everything. She went dancing twice a week and would go to Blackpool on dancing holidays whenever she could.”
Prior to her death, Conie had already started planning her 100th birthday party.
Hundreds of mourners gathered to say farewell to the fearless war veteran at her funeral at St Aiden’s Church in Bamber Bridge on June 7.
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