Isle of Wight Coroner’s report into Forest Road fatal crash junction

THE Isle of Wight Coroner doesn’t believe the measures to be taken at the Whitehouse Road and Forest Road junction will be enough to prevent further deaths there.

Caroline Sumeray has sent a Prevention of Future Deaths report on the issue to the Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads, stating: “In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and/or your organisation have the power to take such action.”

On April 15, 2019, Mrs Sumeray started an investigation into the death of Yvonne Copland, who died at 64 following a collision at the junction.

The investigation concluded at the end of the criminal proceedings on July 13, 2020.

The driver of another car, Yaashmi Ravikumar, 20, was sentenced for causing the crash.

Read about the court case here

After the case concluded, Mrs Sumeray considered it was not appropriate to resume the inquest.

However, she said the judge’s sentencing remarks revealed matters giving rise to concern her.

Judge Susan Evans said: “This is is not, perhaps, the easiest of junctions. It is not the first time that a serious road traffic collision has taken place at this particular junction.”

She said Whitehouse Road has high hedges which did not afford a good view of the major road, and signage may be ‘somewhat deceptive’.

In the aftermath of the crash, a petition was launched which gained nearly 7,000 signatures calling for the Isle of Wight Council to install traffic lights at the crossroads, in a bid to improve road safety and prevent further collisions.

Mrs Sumeray found that accident data from the Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads show there is a ‘high probability’ of a crash occurring at that junction at least once every year, and it is ‘likely’ that between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of those accidents could kill or seriously injure someone.

She said in the last five years, there have been seven recorded collisions at the junction, with three others apart from this particular crash being serious collisions.

She said six of the seven collisions involved vehicles exiting Whitehouse Road on to Forest Road.

She said: “Whilst I am aware that some measures have been taken by the Isle of Wight Council to reduce the likelihood of a collision in the future by realigning a hedge, I am concerned that this measure does not go far enough to make this junction significantly safer for all road users in the future.”

The council must respond to the coroner within 56 days, by May 3.

The response must give details of action taken or proposed to be taken, setting out the timetable, or explain why no action is proposed.

The council had previously announced it would take action to improve visibility, but ruled out traffic lights.

Isle of Wight County Press | News