Large pothole 'played a part' in tragic death of 17-year-old Northampton motorcyclist, inquest hears

A dangerous pothole that "played a part" in the death of a 17-year-old motorcyclist was fixed on the same night of the fatal crash.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:14 pm
Chelsie Rose was killed on Boughton Fair Lane in a chain of events that started with a gaping pothole in the road.
Chelsie Rose was killed on Boughton Fair Lane in a chain of events that started with a gaping pothole in the road.

Chelsie Rose was killed on Boughton Fair Lane when she collided with the back of a slow-moving car and fell into the path of an oncoming white Vauxhall.

But at her inquest yesterday (August 22), the coroner heard how the tragic chain of events that led to her death started with a gaping pothole - which was then repaired on the night of the crash.

Chelsie's mum Hazel said: "Chelsie the teenager was transforming into Chelsie the beautiful young lady.

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Mum Hazel said "life would never be the same" without her daughter.

"Live will never be the same. We will never know what life had in store for Chelsie. We will always remember and feel the pain of what might have been.

"We are so proud of what she had achieved in her short life."

A witness to the crash told the inquest how on March 13 this year he had been a passenger in a red Vauxhall Corsa on Boughton Fair Lane when they saw a silver car ahead of them indicate and come to a stop.

In a statement read out by the coroner, he said: "We slowed down to about 5mph and couldn't see why they had stopped.

The accident that killed Chelsie started with a 60cm wide pothole in the road on Boughton Fair Lane.

"Suddenly I heard a loud bang behind us. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something black fly through the air and land in the road.

"It was almost immediately hit by white car travelling the other direction."

But the passengers soon realised that it was a young woman who had come off her motorbike, and they phoned an ambulance.

Sadly, the motorcyclist - Chelsie - died at the scene.

The coroner heard how the initial silver car had, in fact, stopped to navigate a 60cm-wide 6cm-deep pothole in the centre of the road.

Several witnesses called Boughton Fair Lane "bumpy," in poor repair" and "covered in potholes" in evidence.

But the inquest heard how highway inspectors for Northamptonshire had visited the pothole on the same day as the accident - where they marked it as "category one" and ordered for it to be fixed within five days.

Hours later, it had a role to play in Chelsie's death.

The pothole was then fixed the same night as the crash under police orders.

Senior coroner Anne Pember said: "I find it sad that had the pothole not been present there would have been no reason for the initial motorists to slow down.

"Chelsie was riding her motorbike doing what she loved. Sadly, it seems that she did not slow her motorbike and she collided with the rear of the car in front of her and fell into the path of another car."

At the inquest, mum Hazel asked network manager of Northamptonshire highways Martin Sockett why the pothole had not been repaired sooner.

He replied: "If we had to attend to every pothole that was between 50 to 60cm it would be a tremendous strain."

It comes as Northamptonshire County Council prepares to further cuts to road maintenance in the county.