Family calls for more safety measures on South Shields road where woman died after being hit by bus

A coroner has suggested road safety improvements after the death of a much-loved woman who died after a collision with a bus in South Shields.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 9:04 am
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 12:11 pm

Janet Louise Carey, 51 had been on her way to the hairdressers shortly before 9am on Saturday, August 29, when the collision took place with the E6 Stagecoach bus service on Chichester Road close to its junction with Westoe Road and Imeary Street.

Tragically, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest into her death was led by Terence Carney, Senior Coroner for South Tyneside and Gateshead, at the Coroner’s Court, in Station Road, Hebburn, on Thursday, April 29.

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Janet Carey died after a collision with a bus in South Shields.

The inquest heard how Ms Carey, a telecommunications officer from South Shields, had been crossing Chichester Road – a route she was familiar with – when the collision took place.

A post-mortem examination found she died after suffering significant head injuries.

Pc Steven Malt, one of the officers involved in the investigation, said Ms Carney had been on a pedestrian island and did not look right before she stepped out into the carriageway while the traffic lights showed green for vehicles and red for pedestrians.

The collision took place on Chichester Road in South Shields at the junction of Imeary Street and Westoe Road. Image by Google Maps.

Pc Malt confirmed there were no environmental or weather issues at the time, and the investigation had found no faults with the bus or the driver.

He said the incident happened very quickly, giving the driver no opportunity to act and stop.

Coroner Carney said: “No criticism or sanction can be directed to him [the bus driver] in any way.

"It was a traumatic experience for him. He tried as best he could to seek assistance.”

Coroner Carney said that Janet “suffered significant head injuries inadvertently sustained in a road traffic collision” and ruled the cause of death as “accidental death”.

He said: “We all led very busy lives and the tragedy is that everyone that day, Janet and the bus driver in particular, were going about their normal daily business where unfortunately they have come together in this catastrophic and tragic way.”

Janet’s brother Stephen Carey was present at the inquest and said that it was a ‘tragic accident.’

He said: “The family are thinking about the bus driver.”

During proceedings, Mr Carey raised concerns over the safety of the Chichester Road crossing for pedestrians and said he wanted to see ‘look left’ and ‘look right’ markings painted on the ground to help those crossing.

He said: “That particular island is very confusing. The amount of people that have come forward to me since this and said that they have had some near misses.”

Pc Malt said he had spoken with South Tyneside Council about Mr Carey’s concerns, and the authority stated that “the junction complies with legislation”.

Coroner Carney said he would raise the family’s concerns with South Tyneside Council in writing, adding: “It seems to me that any assistance that can be given to assist and remind people of the real and present danger they are in should be employed.”

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Janet’s family at this difficult time.

"As always, we will carefully consider any recommendations from the coroner once we receive them, and take any appropriate action.”

The coroner’s summing up in full

Summing up Coroner Carney said: "On August 29 last year Janet had left her home on that Saturday morning at around 9am to go to the hairdressers and had taken a route along Imeary Street that was well known to her and familiar.

"On that route it is quite apparent that she did not do anything unusual but unfortunately that route took her to a rather complex junction between Imeary Street and Chichester Road.

”That [junction] brings together routes travelling on all points of the compass and a road set up or recognised as needing some sort of road traffic control.

"That road traffic control was designed, not only to ensure the safe movement of traffic, but designed to ensure the safety of the junction – which is significantly wide- where pedestrians are on foot.

"I am satisfied that Janet negotiated the junction to one of the central reservations intending to continue her journey across.

"There was a public service vehicle turning in her path.

"Unfortunately and inadvertently they came together.

"The passenger service vehicle that came into collision with her and its driver were driving properly and in accordance with the speed restrictions at the time.

"The driver was travelling through a green light in order to continue the journey and unfortunately Janet was unaware of its presence because, I am sure, she would not have moved if she had been.

"But she moved forward to the point of collision with the bus.

"As a consequence she received catastrophic injuries as she fell beneath the bus.

"I am satisfied that the primary cause of death medically was significant head injuries.”

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