Police car ‘aquaplaned’ before horror Sheffield Christmas Day crash which claimed two lives, inquest finds
A police car being driven at more than 100mph is likely to have ‘aquaplaned’ before a collision which claimed the lives of two people, an inquest has heard.
PC David Fields, aged 45, of Halfway, and Lorraine Stephenson, 61, of Beighton, both died at the scene of the crash which happened on the A57 Mosborough Bypass on Christmas Day, 2017 at around 8.20pm.
An inquest into both deaths at Sheffield Coroners’ Court this week heard that at the time of the collision, PC Fields had been responding to a 999 call about a street brawl involving up to 15 people in which there was thought to be a threat to life.
Evidence from expert collision investigators showed that PC Fields had been driving his BMW patrol car at 103mph when he lost control and collided with an oncoming vehicle being driven by Kevin Stephenson.
Lorraine, who was a passenger in the oncoming vehicle, died at the scene of the crash along with PC Fields.
Earlier in the week, Kevin Stephenson told how he had no time to brake or steer after seeing PC Fields’ patrol car spinning towards them and knew Lorraine was dead as soon as he saw her.
A jury of eight women and one man today found that the collision was the result of a combination of factors.
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These included the police car’s ‘high’ speed, wet driving conditions caused by heavy rainfall throughout the day and accumulations of water on the road.
They found on the balance of probabilities it was more likely than not that the police vehicle aquaplaned and lost control on one of the pools of water.
After the jury returned their conclusion, Senior Coroner Christopher Dorries said he would consider asking Sheffield Council to install skid warning signs at the scene of the accident.
And in a statement released after the inquest concluded, South Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley, said: “I would like to pass on the condolences of myself and all of South Yorkshire Police to both of the families affected by the tragic events of Christmas Day 2017.
“We will now consider the full findings of the coroner to ensure any recommendations are thoroughly considered and appropriately acted upon.”