96mph fatal crash on A24 was ‘avoidable’

Silviya Petrova was driving along the A24 when she lost control. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Silviya Petrova was driving along the A24 when she lost control. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
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The A24 crash that killed a 26-year-old woman after her car span out of control could have been avoided if she had not been travelling at 96mph, an expert has said.

Silviya Petrova of Rectory Road in Worthing was driving her Ford Focus to work near Washington on July 24 last year when she hit a tree, an inquest heard today.

The driver lost control of her vehicle while travelling at some 96mph

PC Andrew Slark, forensic collision investigator

Originally from Bulgaria, Miss Petrova had been driving to Thakeham where she worked as a harvester, the coroner at Centenary House in Crawley heard.

A witness statement by Kristina Petrova said Silviya Petrova swerved towards her car, missing by ‘30 or 40cm’, before steering to the left and off the road. The hearing was told that the two women were not related.

PC Andrew Slark, a forensic collision investigator for Sussex Police, told the inquest: “The driver lost control of her vehicle while travelling at some 96mph.”

He said the car had spun around as it left the road and Miss Petrova ‘tried to steer away from the inevitable’.

“The rear nearside of the vehicle then impacted with trees before it rotated and impacted head on.

“Sadly Miss Petrova sustained fatal injuries.”

He said he had not seen evidence that weather, the road or another car was a factor.

PC Slark finished his evidence by saying that, if she had been driving slower, the crash might have been avoided.

But the inquest also heard a statement from Hristo Atanafov, who said another car ‘was overtaking Silviya in lane two when she swerved across her lane’.

Tests for alcohol and drugs in Miss Petrova’s bloodstream after the crash were negative, the coroner was told.

Assistant Coroner Joanne Andrews returned the conclusion that Miss Petrova died from head injuries from a road traffic collision.