Essex

M25 Epping crash: Woman cleared of causing death by dangerous driving

Chelmsford Crown Court
Image caption Both defendants denied the charges against them during a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court

A motorist whose car was hit by a lorry after running out of petrol on a motorway has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

Passenger Laura Cooper, 35, died in the crash on the M25 near Epping, Essex in March 2016.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard driver Tammy Langton had cannabis in her system and had Googled "fuel warning light, how much left" weeks beforehand.

She was found guilty of causing death by careless driving while on drugs.

Langton, 32, was charged alongside lorry driver Anthony Cheshire, 63, who was found guilty of causing death by careless driving following a majority verdict from the jury.

The crash happened on the clockwise carriageway near Epping just before 02:00 BST on 29 March 2016, the court had heard.

Ms Langton's Nissan Note stopped on the side of the road - where there was no hard shoulder - and was hit by a lorry about 18 seconds later.

During the trial, Langton was asked why she had made the Google searches and had failed to use "five opportunities in 20 miles" to leave the motorway to get to safety.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The crash happened on a clockwise stretch of the M25 where there was no hard shoulder

The court had heard evidence from a toxicologist who said the level of cannabis detected in Ms Langton's blood exceeded the legal limit.

Langton, of Melthorpe Gardens, Blackheath, south-east London, claimed she had last used the drug on 26 March, three days before the crash.

But Dr David Berry concluded she "had smoked cannabis... within one or two hours prior to the accident".

Langton and Cheshire, of Reynards Coppice, Sutton Hill, Telford, were also cleared of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, connected to the injuries of a third person in the car.

The pair, who remain on bail, will return to court for sentencing on 23 March.

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