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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Icy roads not gritted on day of fatal A590 crash at Lindale Hill

A MAN was killed when he was hit by a car which spun out of control on an icy road that had not been gritted, an inquest heard.

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TRAGEDY: The scene of the fatal accident on Lindale Hill. yesterday. Inset: Stuart Shaw MILTON HAWORTH

South and East Cumbria coroner Mr Ian Smith intends to write to the Highways Agency detailing his concerns over the monitoring of conditions on the A590 where Stuart Shaw, 31, died on January 19 last year.

Multiple vehicles crashed after hitting black ice near the summit of Lindale Hill, the hearing at Barrow Town Hall was told yesterday.

One of the cars, a silver Hyundai driven by Michaela Webster, from Askam, spun at least 180 degrees and hit well-known footballer Mr Shaw, who was trying to warn approaching motorists of the danger.

Mr Shaw, of Castle Wray, Broughton, was driving on the eastbound carriageway around 8am when he came across a Vauxhall Corsa, which had crashed after hitting the ice.

Witness statements described how Mr Shaw – a former GSK Ulverston Rangers, Dalton United and Coniston player – stopped to check on the driver of the Corsa before trying to wave down other approaching cars.

Miss Webster told the hearing as she approached the scene she spun around on the ice before hitting the barrier on the central reservation.

Although she was not aware of it until later, she also hit Mr Shaw, causing him fatal injuries.

Such was force of the collision he was thrown into the verge and lay undiscovered for up to half-an-hour.

A number of other cars suffered damage when they crashed on the ice.

Christopher Court, a delivery manager for road network contractor Enterprisemouchel said the section of road had not been gritted the night before.

Enterprisemouchel manages the road for the Highways Agency and monitors road conditions and weather using equipment based in Ulverston and Meathop, up to a mile from the top of Lindale Hill and at a lower altitude.

Mr Court said the night before the accident, the equipment had suggested conditions may drop below freezing.

However, gritters did not treat the road as the equipment suggested there was little surface moisture present to create a danger of ice.

Solicitor for Mr Shaw’s family, Mr Jeremy Tennyson, asked Mr Court if he could have made the decision to treat the road to “err on the side of caution”.

Mr Court said: “You can only take a decision based on information you have, not information you don’t. It’s a matter of what is reasonably practicable.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Smith said the black ice had caused Miss Webster to lose control and there was no evidence of factors such as inattention or excessive speed.

Mr Smith said he intended to write a letter pointing out to the Highways Agency how much conditions could vary on the road. He said: “I suspect there would be quite different conditions between the bottom of the hill and the top. I find it strange to think that the A590, a road that must certainly be in excess of 30 miles, is monitored from two stations.

“I do think it is impossible to monitor what is happening at the top of Lindale Hill from the bottom of the hill.

“There are local conditions that, I think, should be taken into account.”

Have your say

I think it is absolutely disguising that they didn't grit Lindale Hill of all places.. that is one of the busiest A roads in England! I hope those responsible are made to face up to their stupid actions, or in this case lack of!
I'd just like to add that Paragraph 9 was definitely NOT necessary as it had nothing to do with this tragic accident and didn't need to be mentioned!
My heart goes out to all those involved, especially to Mr Shaw's family, close friends & also the poor lady who accidentally hit him... it must be awful!

Posted by Sam on 26 April 2012 at 12:40

I was there at the time of the incident and the conditions were awful. Cars were sliding everywhere and it is an absolute miracle that I managed to get through ok. It is a tragedy that someone died. Hopefully lessons have been learnt and the road will be gritted in future - it's a dangerous section of road at the best of times but during winter it becomes treacherous. Much sympathy is with the family and partner of Stuart Shaw, 'Shorty'.

Posted by Regular user of A590 on 26 April 2012 at 11:29

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