Sun could have blinded Hailsham driver

Ersham Road, Hailsham
Ersham Road, Hailsham

A Hailsham pensioner died when the car she was driving crashed into another vehicle on a sharp bend in Ersham Road, an inquest heard.

Pamela Minshall, 74, was driving northbound along the B2104 in Hailsham just after 7pm on Sunday, August 25 after attending a friend’s birthday barbecue with her husband, Brian.

He was in the front passenger seat as they drove back to their Jasmine Road home and told the inquest how he was ‘relaxed, happy and comfortable’ with Mrs Minsahll’s driving as they travelled along the winding road.

However, it was on one of these bends that the fatal accident occurred.

As Mrs Minshall made the turn, her Hyundai IX20 collided head-on with a Peugeot 207 travelling in the other direction, forcing both cars onto the grass verges either side of the road.

Sally Turner had been driving the Peugeot with her partner at the time, Scott Robinson, in the front passenger seat and her two children in the back.

Both Ms Turner and Mr Robinson told the inquest how the blue Hyundai had veered over to their side of the road as it drove around the bend.

This was supported by fuel spillages found on the road by Forensic Collision Investigation and Reconstruction Unit officer Julian Taylor after the crash.

Ms Turner told the coroner that ‘about a third’ of the oncoming car was over the white line as it came into sight.

She added: “I didn’t have time to brake and I would have gone into the ditch if I’d swerved.”

FCIRU officer Mr Taylor added: “She would have had to react very quickly and counter the natural reaction to stay on the road.

“There was no way she could have got round the car and stayed on the road.”

Mr Taylor told the inquest both cars were travelling at an appropriate speed approaching the bend but that it was ‘highly possible’ the sun had temporarily blinded Mrs Minshall as she turned the corner.

It would have been directly in her eyeline at that time of evening.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of road traffic accident, adding that ‘visibility may have been affected by the sun’.

Ms Turner also thanked the ‘brilliant’ emergency services that attended the crash scene.

These sentiments were also echoed by Mrs Minshall’s family.