A MOTHER watched in horror as a car was engulfed by flames - only to discover her daughter had perished inside.
Lorraine Hill, of Manor Farm, Bickley Wood, near Nomansheath, is coming to terms with the death of her 21-year-old daughter Imogen Kettle, whose silver Peugeot 206 was destroyed in the incident.
It is understood, at the time, Mrs Hill couldn't be sure the car was her daughter's because of the intensity of the flames.
Miss Kettle was half a mile from home when her car was involved in a collision with a people carrier at about 5.05pm on Monday.
She was turning right from Bickley Lane on to the A41 toward Chester as the silver Seat Alhambra, carrying a couple and three children, headed toward Whitchurch.
Residents raced to the scene and later told how Imogen's mother appeared to have stumbled across the accident scene.
Farmer Andrew Dawson, of Bickley Lane, said: 'I was working in the yard when I heard a bang. I went to look and it was just a fireball.
'I didn't know there was anybody in it until the fireman told me. Our thoughts are with the family of this young girl. It's absolutely tragic.'
His wife Jackie said: 'We believe the mother arrived at the scene. She thought her daughter was inside because she said she had only just left. She said she hoped it wasn't her.'
Mrs Dawson said the way the junction was lit at night could be confusing even for people used to it.
The couple said there had been an accident at 1.15pm that day involving a motor cyclist on the A41 in Barhill. The casualty suffered leg injuries.
Another resident said there had also been a minor incident involving two cars in Broxton on the A41 at about 2pm, again on the same day.
Malpas's fire engine was called to Monday's fatal crash and sub officer Ray Crump confirmed the driver died of her injuries at the scene.
The occupants of the Seat, a family from Whitchurch, were already out of their vehicle when the crew arrived. They were all taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital.
They consisted of a 52-year-old male driver, who suffered chest injuries, his 48-year-old wife, who received slight injuries, and their three sons. The eldest, a 14-year-old, suffered serious injuries.
The road was closed for several hours for an investigation. Witnesses are asked to call PC Will Francis on 01244 350222.