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Campaign call at inquest into death of Holme Wood teenager
7:00am Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
Bradford Coroner Peter Straker is considering lobbying for a new advertising campaign to help stop more pedestrian deaths on multi-lane roads.
He was prompted by an inquest yesterday into the death of Valentine’s Day sweetheart Chelsie Baines, who was struck by a van as she crossed Tong Street with her boyfriend.
It happened on February 14 as they walked along Knowles Lane, glanced at lights meant for drivers and crossed at the junction towards Knowles Street.
The inquest heard that by the time Chelsie, 17, and Hayden Worby, also 17, got to the third lane, a works van driven by Andrew Etheridge had pulled out of the second slower-moving lane to the third lane that was clear and accelerated, colliding with them.
It is believed the lights at that time were likely to be at green, despite conflicting evidence from other drivers.
Witnesses, including Mr Etheridge, said the lights were green, but another said the lights had gone to amber when the van struck the couple.
An emotional Mr Hayden, who was seriously injured, told the inquest: “Chelsie said ‘the lights are red, come on let’s cross’. I also checked the lights and the filter lane lights. It’s a force of habit there because there’s no pedestrian crossing.”
Collision investigator Keith Raynor said although that part of Tong Street was marked as a crossing with studs, there were no lights there for pedestrians.
He suggested if that stretch had a barrier all the way along, instead of there being a gap, it would force pedestrians to use the other official crossing points that follow a longer and more circular way to get to the other side.
Mr Straker, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said he would also consider writing to Bradford Council about his concerns over the junction and suggesting installing low-level lights for pedestrians that would not confuse drivers.
After the inquest, Chelsie’s step-father Jason Ogden, said he and her mother, Helen, would support Mr Straker’s idea for a national campaign.
He said: “If railtrack deaths are considered significant enough to justify a national public announcement campaign, I don’t see why road deaths are not.”