A YOUNG mum who died after a horrific road crash as she walked home did not use an underpass because she had previously felt intimidated by youths there, an inquest heard.
Lorraine Bussey, 23, died at 10.30pm on March 22 after she was in collision with a taxi on the A358 in Bishops Lydeard, the hearing at Taunton’s Old Municipal Buildings was told.
The inquest heard Lorraine had been drinking in the Lethbridge Arms the night she died and said she preferred to cross the busy A-road to get home to Greenway.
Friend Robert Price, who was on the phone to Lorraine as she was going home, told the inquest: “She seemed drunk, emotional and wasn’t making a lot of sense. I was trying to calm her down and told her to go home.
“She said three times she wanted to take her own life and I was cross with her, but I didn’t think she’d do it.
“I told her to think of her daughter and mother. Then I heard a scream and then the line went dead.”
Motorists and pedestrians had seen Lorraine staggering in the road minutes before colliding with a Peugeot 807 taxi driven by Roger Hunt.
Mr Hunt told the hearing: “I was doing 55mph when I looked on the straight and I think I was doing about the same speed when I hit her.
“As I was going round the right-hand bend I didn’t see anything until she was on my windscreen. I didn’t have any time to think or brake.”
Police investigators estimated the car was travelling at 66mph on the 60mph speed limit stretch, but concluded that the incident was unavoidable as Lorraine’s dark clothing would have made her difficult to see.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, West Somerset coroner Michael Rose, said: “I understand the reservations of a young woman about walking through the underpass on her own at night, but considering she was wearing dark clothing she should have used it.
“There was some mention of her taking her own life, but I’m far from satisfied that was her intention – her confusion was quite clear from the telephone conversation.”
Mr Rose said he did not believe Mr Hunt could have done anything to avoid the collision.
After the inquest Lorraine’s mum, Rita Green, said: “She was beautiful, bubbly and always thinking of others. She had me, Amy, she was due to be married to Tim [Hutchings].
“We’re trying to move on, but there are certain times when I especially miss her and Christmas is hard.
“Amy’s the silver lining and all we can do is pray 2013 will be a better year.
“I’d like to thank James Auton and others who tried to help her on the night.”