Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FAMILY'S DISTRESS; Speeding Car Horror Was an Accident, Inquest Rules: Car Was Driven So Fast It Took off, Inquest Is Told

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FAMILY'S DISTRESS; Speeding Car Horror Was an Accident, Inquest Rules: Car Was Driven So Fast It Took off, Inquest Is Told

Article excerpt

Byline: SAM BEATTIE

THE family of a grandad who was mown down by a speeding car say they are "deeply distressed" by the outcome of an inquest into his death. The people carrier that ploughed into Reginald Arthur Plummer was being driven so fast all four of its wheels "took off" over a level crossing. It spun out of control, mounted the pavement and smashed into the 76-year-old pedestrian, "catapulting" him into the air, the inquest heard. He suffered 63 individual injuries and died as doctors performed emergency surgery.

Police confirmed that the driver, Trudy Harcourt, was doing at least 46mph in the 30mph zone. But a coroner yesterday said there was "insufficient evidence" to return a verdict of unlawful killing, instead ruling that Mr Plummer died as a result of an accident. Teesside Coroner's Court was told that Ms Harcourt, 34, was giving her nephew, her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend a lift in her Toyota MPV. Independent witnesses said she approached the level crossing on Station Road, Billingham, so quickly they thought the car was being "joyridden" or pursued by police. In a statement, witness Russell Barron said: "As it hit the crossing it left the road - it took off. The man (Mr Plummer) was thrown about 10 to 15 feet in the air." A group of bystanders found the former amateur boxer lying face down. They gave him first aid and called an ambulance. Julian Anthony Trodden, of Billingham, said he saw the vehicle "bouncing in the air" before it hit Mr Plummer .

"It was totally out of control coming over the crossing," he said. "I thought maybe the police were chasing it. I'll never forget what I saw. The male was catapulted into the air." Pedestrian Angela Violet Steel, a shop assistant from Billingham, said the vehicle seemed to speed up as it neared the railway tracks. "I remember thinking 'stupid idiots'," she said, adding that she initially thought it was being driven by joyriders. Mr Plummer, from Billingham, was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton, but suffered a fatal heart attack during surgery. …

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