December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Chris Bishop
Monday, September 23, 2013
A coroner praised a popular PCSO who died in a car crash on her way to work, saying everyone should live their lives like she did.
Sandi Greenacre lost control of her car on an icy stretch of the A149 at Sandringham on March 11. It ploughed into an oncoming vehicle and she was pronounced dead at the scene, an inquest heard.
Coroner William Armstrong ruled neither Mrs Greenacre nor the driver of the other vehicle were to blame.
“She was the sort of woman who lived every day as if it was her last, which is how we should all live,” he said.
“Her smile and bubbly personality live on in the memories of those who knew her.”
Mrs Greenacre, 51, who lived in North Wootton, was travelling to work at Hunstanton police station when the crash happened on the A149 at Sandringham.
The road had a covering of snow and patches of ice at the time of the accident, which happened at 6.43am, the court was told.
Julie Green said she was travelling from her home in Dersingham, on her way to work in King’s Lynn, when she saw Mrs Greenacre’s red Peugeot 107 in the distance, on a stretch where the road bends through a shallow ‘S curve.
“It appeared to be driving quite slowly, on the correct side of the road,” she said.
But as the car approached her black Peugeot 206, Ms Green said it appeared to twitch, before it spun out of control and slid towards her sideways. Ms Green described the moment of impact in her statement to police.
“I tried to avoid colliding with the red Peugeot by dabbing my brakes, I tightened my grip on the steering wheel,” she said. “I closed my eyes and braced myself.”
As Ms Green concluded her evidence, coroner William Morris said there was no way that she could have avoided the collision.
Jon Mann was driving his Audi A3 along the A149 towards King’s Lynn a few hundred yards behind Ms Green, just before the crash.
“There wasn’t loads of snow, probably half an inch, but it was cold and it was slippery in parts,” he said.
Mr Mann said he lost sight of the black car as it went around a left-handed bend, before he saw the red car coming towards him in the distance.
“All of a sudden the red car, the back end of it, just broke away, it was going sideways,” he said. “It slid across and collided with the black Peugeot going in the opposite direction.”
In his statement to police, Mr Mann said there was a “massive inpact” which left debris strewn across the road. He told the coroner: “It was a horrible thing to see.”
PC Mark Savage, of Hunstanton police, said he was called to the scene of the collision as he came to the end of a night shift with his colleague PC Lammas.
“We found there was a two vehicle RTC [road traffic collision] and the paramedic and ambulance crew informed us there was a fatality,” he said.
“A few moments later, I heard PC Lammas speak over the police radio and he said there was a fatality. The words he used were it was one of ours.”
Specialist crash investigator PC Graeme Brooks said no mechanical defects were found in either vehicle. He said the icy conditions were very likely to have contributed towards the collision.
“There was nothing to suggest that either vehicle was being driven in anything other than a suitable manner,” he added.
A post mortem showed Mrs Greenacre died of multiple injuries as a result of a road traffic collision. Mr Armstrong concluded Mrs Greenacre died after momentarily losing control of her car.
“Road conditions were not good and were clearly a major contributory factor to what happened,” he said. “It is important for me to state there was no question of Sandi driving anything other than slowly and carefully.
“Julie Green was in no way to blame for what happened, there was nothing she could to to avoid the collision.”
Mr Armstrong said Mrs Greenacre was a popular and highly-respected member of the police force.
“She’s been described to me as a very bubbly, popular type of person,” he said.
After the hearing Insp Debbie Gunnell, of Norfolk police, said: “Her smiles and her cheerful personality are still missed.”
She said colleagues would be continuing an initiative, where children at Hunstanton beach are issued with wristbands to help locate their parents if they become lost, which was launched by Mrs Greenacre.