Mother-of-two killed in freak accident that saw her lay down in motorway

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Mother-of-two killed in freak accident that saw her lay down in motorway

An inquest held yesterday heard about the chilling moment a mother-of-two inexplicably lay down in the slow lane of the M4 and was subsequently struck by a passing HGV early in the morning of October 26 .

Dr Kaja Lerum Sammartino, who was the medical director of a pharmaceutical company, was killed when she was struck by an HGV on her way to work in Reading.

Lorry driver Richard Hanton described the moment he saw Dr Lerum Sammartino in the road: "I was driving normally and nothing was out of the ordinary.

"Then I saw a woman lie down in front of me after coming from the hard shoulder and lying down in the slow lane."

Mr Hanton managed to swerve and avoid hitting the woman before stopping some 200 metres up the hard shoulder.

The truck driver then walked down to the hard shoulder to find an abandoned Mazda and Dr Lerum Sammartino lying in the slow lane of the motorway.

A heavy goods vehicle then struck her.

The inquest heard that the mother-of-two from Newbury, Berkshire was travelling to work when, for an unknown reason, she violently swerved off the carriageway and crashed into the barrier on the hard shoulder.

Following the collision, the doctor switched on her hazard lights, left the car from the passenger side and called the emergency services.

She declined assistance from both police and the fire services as well as turning down the offer of an ambulance.

Forensic collision investigator Tony Reading described the initial collision as "not significant" and as a "glancing blow". He said it was unlikely to cause "significant injury".

But the hearing was told that investigators could not rule out that Dr Lerum Sammartino may have hit her head when her car collided with the safety barrier.

"If you have a bleeding to the brain you can function perfectly normally for a period of time and then the pressure can cause a problem," said Mr Reading.

Husband Pablo Sammartino said he had known his wife for more than 20 years and although she had suffered from periods of depression in the past and took anti-depressants, he said she would not have committed suicide.