Taxi passenger who stepped into dark road after seatbelt row was killed outright

Friday 30th August 2019 9:01 am
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Vanessa Collins-Smith

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A TAXI passenger was killed minutes after arguing with the driver because she refused to wear a seat belt, an inquest heard.

Vanessa Collins-Smith got out of the cab on an unlit road and was hit by a passing car.

The 25-year-old, who had recently moved to Pembrokeshire, from Llandrindod Wells, then called a friend to say she was lost.

Taxi driver Awais Eshan told the inquest in a written statement: “I kept asking her but she refused to wear a seat belt.

“The alarm was sounding and the more I asked her the more abusive she became.”

Vanessa left the cab without paying and found herself alone on a dark road near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, at 11pm. The care home worker then called a friend to say she was lost.

She was last seen holding a bottle of Prosecco and dressed all in black on the A4076 at 11pm.

Two cars swerved to avoid her before she was hit by a LandRover Defender and killed outright in the accident on February 20.

Driver Gordon Stanger said he didn’t see the young woman in the carriageway because she was dressed all in black.

The inquest heard there was a pavement alongside the busy road, known as Dredgeman’s Hill, but tragically Vanessa didn’t know it was there.

Accident investigator Pc Aled Thomas said: “Her dark clothing blended in with the surroundings.

“The driver would not have been able to avoid her.”

The inquest heard Vanessa had lived in Llandrindod Wells most of her life and moved to Pembrokeshire in August 2018.

Pembrokeshire Coroner Mark Layton recorded a verdict that Vanessa died from multiple traumatic injuries in a road traffic accident.

Vanessa was excited at starting to train as a nurse after working as a carer since leaving school.

Her mother Marie said after the hearing: “She was a kind and bubbly girl, she was loved by the people she cared for at the home.

“She’d never objected to wearing a seat belt before, we don’t know what to make of it.”

One of her colleagues at The Meadows care home in Johnston, Haverfordwest said: “Vanessa was just lovely, one of life’s natural carers.

“All the residents loved her, she would give them a cuddle if ever they were upset.

“It’s just heartbreaking that she died so tragically.”

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