Young mum dies in crash racing to 6am McDonald’s shift ‘because she was late’

A young mum-of-one died in a road smash as she raced to her early morning McDonald’s shift, an inquest heard.

Holly Carter was newly promoted to manager and was thought to have been running late for her 6am start.

The inquest heard the 21-year-old had been driving at speeds of more than 60mph in a 50mph zone, but as she took a corner, her Vauxhall Corsa veered across the carriageway, the Manchester Evening News reports.

As she lost control of the car she then hit a tree.

Miss Carter was severely injured in the collision outside Bentley Wood Farm pub in Hapton, near Accrington in Lancashire, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

‘Excessive speed’ caused the crash, a police officer told the coroner in Preston.

The mum, who had a three year old son, was working at a McDonald’s restaurant at the Blackburn with Darwen motorway services on the M65 and had just been promoted.

The accident occurred at 5.48am on October 26, last year, as she was travelling along the A679 from Accrington towards Burnley.

Eyewitness James Longson said: “I arrived at work and parked in the car park which is adjacent to the road. My attention was drawn to the sound of a car and saw it coming from the left out of control and could hear screeching of the tyres travelling in excess of 50mph. It appeared to spin and rise into the air before coming to a stop.

“The whole incident was over in seconds.”

A second witness, Gaynor Denny, said: “I was driving home when I saw a Vauxhall Corsa coming towards me, losing control as it came around a bend. I started to slow my car and then saw the Corsa go into the trees with lots of smoke coming out of it. The whole incident lasted about five seconds. The weather was good and fine and although it was dark, the street lighting was on.”

PC Rachel Carberry – a road traffic collision investigator for Lancashire Police, said: “Holly had been travelling along the A679 from Accrington towards Burnley – it’s a 50mph road and as you come from Hapton there is a bend just before a hotel, then the road straightens and then there is another bend near the public house.

“There were marks across the pavement into the wooded area as the vehicle was travelling sideways whilst the wheels were still rotating rather than being locked.

“The road condition was fine. The car was examined and there was nothing on the vehicle that could have caused or contributed to the collision. Holly had also been wearing a seatbelt.

“CCTV footage confirmed that her car had gone sideways along the pavement. She had her brakes on but not fully which confirm the marks at the scene.

"The vehicle has come from a left hand bend and if that is taken at a fast speed then it can’t cope and the back of the car will straighten out. This can also be caused by excessive steering.

“From looking at the scene I estimated the car to be travelling somewhere in the region of 60 to 70mph. When I looked at the footage I was able to establish that the car was travelling between 61 and 69mph when it was travelling across the pavement and towards the tree.

“I concluded that the driver has lost control due to excessive speed and, or inaccurate steering either on or exiting the bend which put Holly’s vehicle into a spin. It is extremely difficult to get the control back once the vehicle has begun rotating.”

Miss Carter was living with her mum in Accrington at the time of the crash in nearby Hapton.

Mum Gail Kirby, 44, told the Preston hearing: “I am surprised at the speed. When she has her little boy or me in the car she is only ever one or two miles over the speed limit. The only thing I can think of was whether she was late for work.

“Holly was a brilliant driver as far as I was concerned. She was a wonderful daughter, sister and mother and was so full of fun. She loved life and had everything to live for.”

The coroner recorded a conclusion of death following a Road Traffic Accident.

At the time of Miss Carter’s death her mother said: “I’m devastated. Holly was a lovely girl, really pleasant and happy all of the time.

“She was full of fun and a really playful character – whenever she took her younger sister, Bethany, to the park, she’d go on the swings with her and things like that.

“Holly was a natural, fantastic mother, who thought the world of her son. She became determined to find a job and make a career for herself. She’d just been promoted at work too. She modelled for a ballet shop when she was young, she had an ideal childhood and a good life.

“She was a friend to everyone who knew her. She had such a pleasant loving personality. She will be sadly missed by her grandparents, stepdad, aunties and uncles and her work colleagues.”

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