Teenager dies in car inferno


Fall in crime

A teenage driver burned to death in her car following a collision with a tree, an inquest has heard.

19-year-old Lauren Jones veered off the road and hit a tree side on with enough force to rupture the fuel lines, which caught fire, engulfing her Ford in flames.

The inquest in Crawley, West Sussex, focussed on whether a series of text messages sent between Ms Jones and her friend, regarding an argument she had had with her boyfriend, had been a causal factor in the crash.

The last text message was sent from the victim's phone at 4.02pm, and the car was engulfed in flames by 4.05pm.

However, after conducting a forensic examination of the scene, Pc Christopher Harrison concluded that while text messages were being sent from the car while it waited at traffic lights, they were not likely to be a factor in Ms Jones' loss of control and subsequent collision.

Instead, the only tyre to survive the fire was found to be just over half of its recommended inflation pressure, which was determined as a likely cause of Ms Jones' loss of control, which occurred at 70mph on a sweeping right-hand bend.

Giving evidence at the inquest, driver Angela Wells recalled both herself and Ms Jones being overtaken by an Audi driver moments prior to the collision.

"I remember it going past me quite fast. I saw it pass Lauren's car way ahead," she said, reported the Daily Mail.

"I must have looked away and the next thing I'm level with her car which is in the trees, on fire."

The coroner reported that Ms Jones died from extensive burn injuries, and a verdict of accidental death was recorded.