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Death crash driver Sheila Stavert-Lee over the drink drive limit
A MOTORIST from York who died in a triple fatal crash was almost twice the drink drive limit, an inquest was told.
A bottle of pear wine, which was fortified with vodka and a third full, was found in Sheila Stavert-Lee’s car, and remnants of the same-coloured liquid were found in a glass.
Mrs Stavert-Lee, 70, of Walmer Carr, Wigginton , and father and son Derek and Ethan Sarkar, from Birmingham, were all killed in the head-on collision, which happened in April on a canal bridge on the A614 at East Cowick, near Goole. Mr Sarkar’s wife, Karen, and daughter, Abbie, were also seriously injured.
The inquest in Hull was told that Mrs Stavert-Lee’s burgundy Volvo crossed lanes and went into the path of Mr Sarkar’s Volkswagen Golf.
Mrs Stavert-Lee was visiting her husband, Anthony Barry Lee, in prison, where he was serving a seven-year sentence for indecent assault against children, when the accident happened.
The inquest heard she had 141mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – the legal limit for driving being 80mg. She also had a prescription sedative in her system.
Dr Latifu Sanni, who carried out post-mortem examinations, said: “The ethanol may have had a detrimental effect on cognitive functions and motor skills.
“The concentration of drugs was of a therapeutic range of use, but combined with the sedative it may have increased the sedation affects.”
The Sarkars had been planning to celebrate Abbie’s birthday with Karen’s friend, Jane, whose husband was also celebrating a birthday. Bedding, drinks and Easter eggs for the party at Jane’s house in Selby were all found near their car.
Karen Sarkar, who spent three months in hospital in Leeds and had pins and plates put in her body, said in a statement that she had been sitting in the back when the accident happened.
She did not recall the impact but did recall waking up and hearing Abbie screaming. “I remember it took an age for them to get me out of the car – I was trapped by my legs,” she said.
The inquest was told that Mrs Stavert-Lee had suffered depression and anxiety and had struggled with drinking problems in the past.
Her daughter, Karen, who was travelling in a blue Ford Mondeo behind her mother when the crash happened, said she did not have reason to believe her mother had been drinking before they set off from their home to an address in Doncaster.
Coroner Geoffrey Saul said all three people had died from injuries sustained in the crash. He said the coroner’s court did not seek to prove any criminal or civil liability.
“I will simply say that Derek and Ethan were in a VW Golf, which was being driving appropriately, when for some reason the vehicle driven by Mrs Lee strayed from its own carriageway and into the oncoming carriageway,” he said.
“There was no evidence of excessive speed but the incline of the bridge meant neither driver had an advanced view of the other car.
“On the basis of the evidence I have heard, the verdict I return is one of accidental death.”