A STRETCH of motorway where an air hostess died after her losing control of her high-performance BMW is to be the subject of a safety review.
An inquest into the death of Irene Veronica Watkin, 31, of Nicholas Court, Nicholas Street Mews, held at Chester and Ellesmere Port Magistrates Court yesterday, heard how the frequency of accidents on the M53 slip road, joining the M56, at Wervin was 'beyond the threshold of the national average'.
Mrs Watkin, married to barrister Damian Watkin, was travelling to Liverpool's John Lennon Airport from her Chester home when her car was in collision with a lamppost after she attempted to join the M56 just before 8am on May 25, 2005.
Witnesses described seeing Mrs Watkins, a hostess for VLM Airlines, driving the BMW Z3 1.9i she shared with her husband past them on the slip road minutes before the car seemed to fishtail as she negotiated a turn.
Michael Pheelin, a sales director from Childer Thornton, said: 'It seemed she lost control one way and tried to correct it and went into a spin. The car spun on the tarmac and seemed to dig into the embankment and lift up and hit the lamppost.'
The impact of the lamppost on the car's roof and driver's side failed to trigger the vehicle's airbag due to the angle of the collision.
Mrs Watkin, who had been due to take a flight to London, died from multiple injuries later that afternoon at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Collision investigation experts rejected witness reports the BMW had spun 360 degrees on the carriageway but agreed it was most likely that Mrs Watkin had lost control after over-correcting the path of the vehicle.
PC Peter MacDonagh, who estimated the car had been travelling at 56-62mph when it mounted the embankment, said either harsh acceleration or steering may have caused Mrs Watkin to overcorrect, causing the back wheels to come out and possibly make contact with the damp grass verge.
Roy Wood, a chartered civil engineer for the Highways Agency, said although safety tests carried out on the slip road in 2004 hadn't given cause for further investigations, the number of accidents resulting in injury in 2005 had prompted a scheme of improvements.
He added that a safety fence around lampposts and the introduction of collapsible lampposts were now being reviewed.