Suffolk

Great Bradley runner Claire Taylor: Road not gritted 'in error'

Claire Taylor Image copyright Suffolk Constabulary
Image caption Claire Taylor was out jogging when she was fatally hit by a car on an icy road

An icy road on which a runner died when she was hit by a car was not gritted "in error", an inquest heard.

Mother-of-two Claire Taylor, 41, was catapulted 100ft into a field in the crash in Suffolk, on 27 December 2016.

Motorist Chantel Macbain, from Haverhill, was cleared by a jury of causing death by careless driving.

Suffolk Coroner's Court heard the gritter driver could not find the route map and missed out 6.9km (four miles) of the B1061, a "priority one" road.

Assistant coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone recorded a narrative conclusion.

He said Mrs Taylor died as a consequence of a road traffic collision, caused by a "loss of control of a car that skidded on ice," adding: "The risk was increased by the road not being gritted overnight."

Mrs Taylor's family said in a statement her death had caused an "immense void" in their lives and they "miss our wonderful, beautiful Claire every minute".

Image caption The coroner's court heard 6.9km (four miles) of the gritting route was missed out

The hearing was told the gritter driver could not find the route card in the vehicle, as it was not where it was usually kept at the time, and a more experienced colleague wrote out instructions by hand "from memory".

He was joined by a navigator as he was "unfamiliar" with the route but there was confusion over where they ought to turn back, the coroner was told.

Tracking data showed they turned back at Great Wratting rather than at the county's border with Cambridgeshire.

Mrs Taylor was struck and died at Great Bradley, three miles further along the road, at 10:10 GMT.

Changes made

Mike Thompson, general manager of Kier Highways, the Suffolk County Council contractor for gritting the roads, said the section at Great Bradley was not gritted "in error".

He said Kier procedures "were not followed".

Mr Thompson said the driver was qualified to drive the grit truck but "lacked training" in terms of being familiar with the route.

He said there was a staff shortage at the time as it was over the Christmas period and the firm relied on people volunteering for overtime.

Kier had since made changes to "make sure sections of a gritting route are not missed again", said Mr Thompson.

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