A GIFTED young woman described as the “perfect daughter” and student” may have died following a momentary lapse of concentration.
Amy Underhill, 19, had not had too much to drink and was not speeding when she crashed her Vauxhall Corsa on the A51 near Tarporley on June 24 after a night out with two girl friends.
Birmingham University student Amy, of Northop Hall, probably lost concentration and panicked, a police accident investigator told a Chester inquest on Tuesday.
The former Chester Queen’s School pupil, was a talented pianist and flautist described by her parents Steve and Pam as the ‘perfect daughter’ and by her old high school as the ‘perfect student’.
Assistant deputy Chester coroner Dr Geoff Roberts said toxicology reports showed no trace of alcohol or drugs in Amy’s body, her car was in good mechanical condition and she had not broken the speed limit.
Amy and friends, Caroline Clarke and Georgina Washbrook, who both survived the crash, had been on a night out in Chester and then left in Amy’s car via Vicar’s Cross towards Tarporley, to take Georgina home.
Caroline said: “Amy drove steadily at around 50mph. I considered Amy to be a careful driver. We started to lose control and despite Amy’s best efforts, the car left the road and then it bounced around and spun.”
Amy had only one alcoholic drink at around 9pm and Caroline didn’t think it had affected her in any way.
An ambulance took Amy to the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Pathologist Dr Sally Hales said part of a fence had caused a serious chest injury and Amy had died from a pulmonary haemorrhage (bleeding into the lungs).
PC Michael Baddeley of Winsford Police Collision Investigation Unit said: “The car rotated anti clockwise and then rotated again on impact with the gate post, which caused it to spin and detach the gate.
“This bend can be easily negotiated within the national speed limit of 60mph.
“The car had drifted as it negotiated the bend and Amy had tried to avoid hitting the kerb by harshly steering right. The harsh steering combined with the speed of the vehicle caused it to rotate. I estimate the car was travelling at between 48 and 53mph. It is my estimation that a vehicle travelling at 100mph could negotiate the bend.
“Amy has had a momentary lapse of concentration and drifted towards the kerb, panicked and swerved away from the kerb, which caused the vehicle to rotate and the car crossed on the verge.”
Dr Roberts recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Headteacher of Queen’s School Catherine Buckley described Amy as “the perfect student – highly intelligent, hard-working, a loyal friend and .. a wonderful young woman’.
The school is planning to establish a musical memorial in her name.