A DRIVER whose taxi hit a mother-of-three as she lay on a dual carriageway was not responsible for her death, a coroner has ruled.
An inquest on Louise Amison, 31, found she had taken amphetamines and had been drinking heavily before her body was discovered on the westbound carriageway of the A548 in Bagillt, Flintshire, on January 30.
Miss Amison, of Riverbank, Bagillt, suffered severe head injuries when she was struck by a Vauxhall Vectra taxi cab bound for Holywell at about 4.40am.
John Gittins, North East Wales acting coroner, recorded a verdict of accidental death. He was told no charges were brought against driver Niall Sweeney following an investigation.
Mr Gittins said: “I can’t be certain this was a deliberate act on her part, but I feel the high level of intoxicants may well have played a part in Louise being where she was at the particular time.
“It is a tragic set of circumstances.”
The Wrexham hearing was told a section of the A548 was closed for 12 hours while forensic officers carried out fingertip searches on the road.
Detectives later found DNA belonging to Miss Amison on the front tyre of a car driven by Chester-based KingKabs worker Mr Sweeney who had been driving siblings Amy, Katie and Michael Scott from Bridge Street, Chester, to Pen-y-Maes, Holywell. He said in interview: “I recall seeing a shape in the road which I thought initially was a blue bag. I swerved to avoid it but the front wheel went over the bag.”
After his drop-off in Holywell Mr Sweeney saw emergency vehicles at the scene but headed back towards Chester.
His passenger, Katie Scott, said in interview: “My brother Michael had fallen asleep and was snoring so I reached forward from the back seat and gently shook him to wake him up.
“I could see the driver looking directly at Michael. He seemed amused and was laughing at the situation.
“Then the car swerved violently to the other side of the road. I looked through the rear window but couldn’t see anything.”
Before the accident two other taxi drivers had swerved to avoid Miss Amison before alerting the emergency services.
The first, Paul Hobdey, had finished his shift and was heading towards Bagillt. He told the inquest: “I could see something in the road a few hundred yards away so I moved into the right hand lane.
“My first thought was that someone was playing a silly prank, but then I stopped and phoned the police.”
Mr Hobdey collected his personal belongings from work and headed back towards Flint when he saw a second taxi driver had stopped at the scene.
Flint-based driver Steven Daley said: “It wasn’t until I slowed down and moved to the outside lane that I realised it was a body.”
Forensic investigators reconstructed the scene using a mannequin to establish whether it would have been possible to see Miss Amison in the road.
Collision investigator PC George Skinner said Miss Amison should have been spotted from a distance of 100m.
Flint-born Miss Amison leaves her three sons - Jordan 14, Joshua 10, and Jack, eight - her mother, Jane Gittins, and sister Natalie.
She left school at 16 and lived in Stoke-on-Trent, Anglesey and Ireland before she settled in Bagillt with friend Janice Williams last November.
Miss Amison had been downloading music on her computer and left the house at about 4.05am to take a walk.
Miss Williams told the hearing: “She came into my bedroom at around 3.30am looking for her bank card.
“I told her to get her head down instead. She has gone for walks at that time of night a couple of times.
“She said she did it for space.”
A post-mortem examination revealed Miss Amison suffered severe head injuries and died instantly but there was no injuries to suggest she had collapsed in the road.
Toxicology tests revealed she was three times the drink-drive limit but it was impossible to tell whether she was experiencing the stimulant or come-down effect of amphetamines at the time of her death.
Miss Amison began taking medication to treat depression but later stopped. She also also suffered occasional fits.
Following the inquest a spokesman for Mrs Gittins said she felt she had closure and did not hold the Mr Sweeney responsible.
See full story in the Chester Leader