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Father of teenage crash victim's emotional plea for motorists to pay attention

PUBLISHED: 13:44 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 02 December 2019

Bethany Alexander. PIC: Courtesey of the Alexander family.

Bethany Alexander. PIC: Courtesey of the Alexander family.

Archant

The father of a teenage crash victim has emphasised the importance of not being distracted at the wheel following the inquest into the death of his beloved daughter.

Bethany Alexander, known as Beth by her friends, was just 18 when her Volkswagon Polo crashed into a Renault Lander cement lorry on the Dereham Road, near her home in Costessey.

An inquest into her death heard how the teenager, who the hearing heard 'lit up every room she walked into', had drifted into the path of the lorry as she drove towards Longwater.

Police investigations found that shortly before the crash, which happened on February 15, Miss Alexander's phone had recorded an interaction with a music streaming app, while Arran Rowe, whose father was driving the lorry, said in written evidence that he saw the teen looking down towards the car's central console.

Speaking after the hearing concluded, Ryan Alexander, her father, said: "The key message I want to get across is just how important it is not to be distracted while driving a car.

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"While it is clear why people talk about using a phone while driving as being dangerous, that is not the only thing that can distract somebody. Not paying attention whatever you are doing can have the same devastating effect."

The 41-year-old also paid loving tribute to his daughter, saying: "She was just the life and soul of the party. If there was a room and she was in it, you knew about it.

"She played lots of sports to a very high level, she played korfball for England in the U17 World Cup, basketball and football.

"She was studying a b-tech in PE and was hoping to get a place at the UEA. She wanted to be a teacher."

An inquest held at Norwich Coroner's Court on Monday heard how Taverham Sixth Form pupil Miss Alexander had drifted into the path of the lorry, which was being driven by Kevin Rowe, who in written evidence described seeing "a shower of debris and smoke" in the wake of the crash.

The inquest heard how Mr Rowe and Miss Alexander each took evasive action to try and avoid the collision, but were unable to. Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake recorded a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic collision.

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