Selston cyclist’s death was a tragic accident

THE death of a Selston teenager who was hit by a car while crossing the A38 was accidental, an inquest has ruled.

Sapphire Brown (17) died on 2nd September last year, six days after being hit by a car while crossing the A38 near its junction with Common Road in Sutton.

An inquest at Nottingham Coroner’s Court into her death heard that on 27th August 2010, Sapphire, who was studying childcare at Sutton Centre Community College, had spent the afternoon with her boyfriend Alexanda Parker and they were making their way back to her house on Holly Hill Road, Selston at around 7.30pm.

The pair, who were on bikes, crossed the first half of the A38 to the central reservation.

Alex said that as they reached the middle of the road and approached the second crossing, Sapphire told him that she loved him and he replied with the same.

He said that he could see cars approaching but they seemed to be slowing down.

Sapphire also looked towards them and he thought that she had seen them.

He did not know if the pedestrian crossing light was green or red as he did not look, but Sapphire rode into the road.

Alex said that he shouted at her to move and she pedalled as fast as she could but a black Mercedes 500SE collided with her.

A number of witnesses to the incident gave evidence during the hearing and all agreed that the driver of the Mercedes, Latvian national Janis Jermacans, could not have avoided what happened.

Some of the witnesses suggested that in their opinion he was driving too fast but police tests estimated that his speed was between 54 and 65mph.

The speed limit for the road is 70mph.

PC Stephen Dodson, from the forensic collision unit at Nottinghamshire Police, told the inquest that his conclusion was that Sapphire cycled into the carriageway contrary to the toucan crossing lights, into the path of the approaching vehicle, which was clearly visible.

He said: “There’s no evidence to support that the Mercedes was travelling in excess of the speed limit.

“Given the actions of the cyclist, the driver had little time to take effective avoiding action.”

He added however that when a driver is approaching a traffic light that has been on green for some time and when there are pedestrians apparently approaching to cross the road, it would be a prudent action to reduce speed and be prepared for the lights to change.

In this case though, even if the Mercedes had been travelling at a reduced speed and the impact speed had been less, the incident may well have had a similar outcome.

Nottinghamshire coroner Mairin Casey recorded a verdict of accidental death.