COLNE: Inquest hears of spill on road before trio die in car smash

A spillage of hydraulic fluid from a forage harvester could have caused the crash in which three young people from Colne died, an inquest has heard.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2010, 8:25 am

Jessica Foxley (21), her boyfriend Tom Petty (25) and friend Philip Wright (25) were killed when their Ford Focus collided with a wall in Skipton Old Road in July last year as they were travelling home from a wedding in Lothersdale, North Yorkshire.

The inquest heard a forage harvester from an agricultural contractors had leaked fluid on to the road earlier in the day.

Graham Guy, from C. & G.A. Guy Contractors Ltd, told the inquest he had been alerted by workers to the leak.

He said he had then sent three men out with a tonne of sand to spread across the affected carriageway to soak up the fluid before inspecting it himself afterwards.

Another witness, motorcyclist Mr Robert Holt, travelled along Skipton Old Road just after the fluid had leaked and described the spillage as “an accident waiting to happen”.

Mr Holt phoned 999 when he reached his friend’s house to report the spillage after he had struggled to control his bike. He said that as well as the sand he thought warning signs for motorists should have been in place.

A further witness, Mr Norman Fleming, who was travelling on his motorcycle with Mr Holt in the early afternoon, described the fluid on the road as “treacherous”.

Jessica’s mother, Mrs Margaret Foxley, also gave evidence at the inquest as she had driven along Skipton Old Road a couple of times on the day of the accident. She said she had seen the spillage and it was still playing on her mind in the evening.

Mrs Foxley told the inquest that, on her return from the wedding at 11-20 p.m. she had a horrible feeling Jessica had been involved in a road accident after she saw the road had been closed by police.

The hearing is set to last three more days with the police and other witnesses yet to give evidence.