A woman who died in a car crash on the A43 near Mawsley earlier this year may have fallen asleep at the wheel, an inquest has heard.
Caren Ashcroft, of Mawsley, was returning home from Hampshire after celebrating her 53rd birthday when she was involved in a collision with two vehicles at 4.30pm on Sunday, June 7, between the Mawsley roundabout and Walgrave junction.
The Kettering inquest heard that the victim was travelling back from her fiance’s house in Gosport when she drifted into oncoming traffic on the other side of the road.
A police crash investigator concluded that she either fell asleep at the wheel or had a medical episode relating to her diabetes.
Her Nissan Micra hit a Vauxhall Astra and then a Vauxhall Corsa, with no attempt to correct her steering despite cars sounding their horn.
A post-mortem examination found she died almost instantly from her injuries.
Passengers in the Vauxhall Corsa also suffered injuries in the crash, with uncertainty over when one child will ever regain full sight after suffering muscle damage behind his eye.
PC Dave Watson is a forensic collision investigator who attended the scene.
He said: “There were no contributing factors on the road to the crash and all vehicles were examined with no defects found.
“It is likely that Caren fell asleep at the wheel but we cannot rule out a medical episode.”
She had spent several years working as a nurse at Kettering General Hospital, and was described as ‘the matriarch of the family who had left a large hole that would never be filled’.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Anne Pember said the crash was nothing more than a ‘tragic accident’.
She said: “It is clear that none of the other two cars involved could have done anything to prevent the crash.
“This was a tragic accident where someone lost their life in awful circumstances.”
Kettering General Hospital’s director of nursing Leanne Hackshall said: “Caren had been a nurse at Kettering General Hospital for some 30 years and was a much loved and well respected member of staff.
“She had worked in various areas across the Trust, most recently in orthopaedics and surgery.
“She is greatly missed by her family, friends, colleagues and patients.”