A young Sutton soldier died in a three-vehicle collision just three weeks after passing her driving test, an inquest has heard.
Private Hazel Fox suffered “severe head injuries” after the blue Renault Clio she was driving suffered “catastrophic damage” in a collision with another car and a lorry, her inquest heard.
The inquest, at Boston Coroner’s Court, Lincolnshire, heard the crash happened on the A16, near Spalding, on Friday, February 26.
Lorry driver Garry Cooke told the hearing: “I was travelling back to Spalding when I remember seeing a small, blue car just as the road started to bend.
“The traffic in front of me parted and I thought an ambulance was coming, judging by the way the vehicles parted.
“I saw the blue car swerve in front of a vehicle it was overtaking and then it looked like the car was going off the road before it came up on my side of the lorry which was when we hit each other.
“I remember thinking ‘this is going to hurt so brace yourself’.
“Then there was a bang and I ran off the road, into a dyke.”
Pc Raymond Holloway, of the Lincolnshire Police collision investigation team, suggested Pte Fox may not have “appreciated the overtaking capabilities” of her car.
PC Holloway said: “Pte Fox was travelling north on the A16 where you enter a long, sweeping left-hand bend which is easily negotiable and where you have a very good view of all of the traffic.
“The three-vehicle collision involved Pte Fox’s Clio, an E-Class Mercedes and a Scania articulated lorry, from which the Clio suffered catastrophic damage.
“Pte Fox was attempting to overtake the Mercedes and, at this point, it should have been obvious to her that there was a HGV vehicle travelling toward her and she had ample time to abandon her manoeuvre.
“She either failed to see the line of vehicles travelling toward her, misjudged the speed of the vehicles and the time she had to complete the manoeuvre or failed to appreciate the overtaking capabilities of her vehicle.”
Summing up, Marianne Johnson, South Lincolnshire assistant coroner, said Pte Fox lost control of her car while trying to overtake the Mercedes and ended up colliding with the lorry.
Ms Johnson also said that no defects were found on any of the vehicles that might have contributed to the collision, but Pte Fox’s status as a “relatively new driver, having passed her test three weeks before the collision”, may have done so
She recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision.
Pte Fox, a member of the Royal Logistics Corps, based at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey, was a keen footballer, playing for Teversal FC.
Dawn Mason-Meakin, team manager, paid tribute to Pte Fox shortly after the crash.
She said: “Hazel was an exceptional fun loving personality of our team. A tiny person with a huge heart and great sense of humour.
“A talented footballer – a very caring and considerate team player who was always willing to help her team mates and do that bit extra for her fellow players.
“She always gave 100 per cent in whatever she did on and off the football pitch.
“Hazel will be sorely missed by everyone at Teversal Ladies FC - our team will never be the same.
Pte Fox’s funeral took place, with military honours, at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sutton.