A young motorist has described her harrowing experience of smashing into and killing a pedestrian trying to cross the M1 motorway near Northampton.
The woman, believed to be in her 20s, who this newspaper has chosen not to name, was travelling with her boyfriend from London to Derby on Friday, November 29, 2019 when the “extremely upsetting” incident happened.
The man, who authorities have not been able to identify but described as an adolescent Asian, stepped out in front of a grey Volkswagen Polo while the driver was travelling at around 70 to 75 miles per hour next to junction 18 of the M1 near Crick.
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He was flung 50 metres forward, going from lane two to lane four on the northbound carriageway, according to police crash investigator Amanda Firth.
A pathologist’s report discovered that the man had traces of ketamine and caffeine in his system, while a police investigation found that he was carrying a Samsung phone with a French sim card, a one euro coin, a small knife blade and was wearing Karrimor walking boots.
At an inquest into the man’s death which took place at The Guildhall in Northampton on Wednesday (August 3), the driver gave a detailed account of what happened.
She said: “[My boyfriend] and I were singing to music and [he] was on his phone.
“I just went past junction 18 of the motorway when I saw a person move into the driver’s side of my car. Before I could do anything the person hit my car. The impact was a loud bang. I slammed on my brakes. I screamed and was hysterical. I was shouting at [my boyfriend] that I had hit someone.”
She pulled over as far left as she could – with no hard shoulder available – and stood behind the barriers and phoned the emergency services, who got to the scene within 10 minutes.
She continued: “I was gagging and crying, telling [my boyfriend] that I need to find the body. [My boyfriend] walked up and confirmed there was a body in the road. Before police arrived traffic was still passing on the motorway. I didn’t know where the body was.”
Reflecting on her harrowing ordeal, the driver said she has “struggled to come to terms” with it all.
She said: “I am struggling to come to terms with what’s happened. Ultimately, I have been involved in a fatality. That is extremely upsetting.
“I don’t feel confident in cars. I tried to go to work after the incident but have been really struggling and have since been off work. I’m not sure how to get back to normal or how to deal with that. I’m even scared of the dark.
“I thought long and hard about what I could have done to avoid the collision, I don’t think there is anything I could have done to avoid this. The person was dressed all in dark clothing and must have crossed six or seven lanes of the motorway.”
She added: “The incident was over in a matter of seconds. There was no lighting. The weather was clear and the road was dry. It was dark. At the time of the impact I was travelling at approximately 70 to 75mph.”
Senior coroner Anne Pember recorded a conclusion of accidental death and told the driver “there was nothing you could have done to avoid this tragedy”.