Double fatal crash in Hethersett caused by drink-driver travelling at 120mph in 40mph limit

A double fatality in Hethersett was caused by a drink-driver travelling at 120mph, more than three times the speed limit, an inquest heard.

Sara-Jayne Page, 29, was more than twice the legal drink-drive limit when her car collided with another vehicle and then crashed into a tree on the B1172 Norwich road in Hethersett.

The front-seat passenger, Trevor Bunn, a 30-year-old father-of-three, also died in the crash, after accepting her invitation to go for a spin just minutes before.

Mr Bunn's friend Oliver Wood, who was in the back-seat of the car, survived despite suffering serious injuries in the crash, which happened just after 11pm on June 11.

Yesterday's Norwich inquest heard that Miss Page and two friends had spent three hours that night drinking nearly a litre bottle of vodka between them. Miss Page, who was a cleaner, had 192mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, while the legal drink-drive limit is 80mg.

In summing up, Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said: 'The responsibility for these two deaths rests entirely with Sara. This was not an accident.

'This tragedy was brought about by Sara driving her car in a thoroughly reckless and irresponsible fashion when she was clearly unfit to drive through drink.

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'It's a blessing that more people were not killed. If Sara had survived she would now be serving a substantial prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.'

Mr Armstrong recorded a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic collision on them both, and the cause of death for both was multiple injuries.

The inquest earlier heard that Miss Page, of Park Close, Hethersett, lived with her fiancee Wayne Hammond, and her two children, aged 12 and five, and they planned to marry next year.

Mr Hammond told the inquest that she 'enjoyed fast driving' but said she was a good driver.

The inquest heard that on that evening Miss Page had walked to a friend, Wendy's Ford house in Hethersett, where she had spent from 7pm to 10pm drinking with her in the garden.

After she left she was next seen at the memorial park in Hethersett, sitting behind the wheel of her Volvo 850, at about 10.45pm.

Mr Bunn, of Muriel Kenny Court, Hethersett, and Mr Wood were both at the park and both got into her car.

Mr Wood said: 'Trevor and Sara were talking about high performance cars and she said her car was fast. Sara asked Trevor 'Do you fancy going for a spin?' and Trevor said yes.'

Mr Wood said that Miss Page was not noticeably drunk so he got in as well, but he became alarmed when she drove off at speed.

'She was driving quite dangerously,' she said. 'She overtook a stationary 4x4 and then a red Nissan which she nearly clipped. I said to her that I got anxious in cars, but she told me to put my seatbelt on, but I already had it on.

'I do remember thinking that if she did not slow down, then we would crash. As we approached a bend going towards the junction with Colney Lane, I looked at the speedometer and it said 120mph.

'We clipped a kerb and the car swerved into the other lane. The car was out of control and I heard a big impact when we hit an oncoming car and then felt another impact when we hit a tree.'

He suffered a broken hand, shinbone and metatarsal bone in his foot, but has fully recovered.

Other witnesses told the inquest how fast the car was travelling and Ruth Maddern, the driver of the Peugeot 206 that the Volvo crashed into, said she could not have avoided the collision. She suffered a fractured breastbone and internal bleeding, but has also recovered.

Pc Nicholas Kett, collision investigator, told the inquest: 'My conclusions are that the Volvo travelling towards Norwich mounted a kerb as it approached a right hand bend, crossed the road and collided with a Peugeot travelling in the opposite direction, and then struck a tree head-on. The speed was well in excess of the 40mph speed limit on that road.

'It was going too fast for the driver to properly control the vehicle, and the level of alcohol would have affected her judgement and ability to regain control of the vehicle.'

Miss Page was pronounced dead at the scene and Mr Bunn died at the Norfolk and Norwich University hospital the following day.

Mr Bunn's family paid tribute to him in the Evening News following the crash. His mother, Belinda Bunn, said: 'He was just a lovely boy. He was well-known and is going to be missed by a lot of people in the village.'

At the time of his death he had been unemployed but had aspirations of becoming a chef or a bricklayer.

Miss Page's daughters also paid tribute to their mother in the Evening News. They said she was 'beautiful' and 'outgoing' and an 'amazing' mother.