A ROAD junction could be closed off permanently after the death of a great-grandmother in a horror smash.
Dolores Mary Hubbert, 81, died in a collision on the A690 Durham Road at East Rainton in August, after her car ended up on the opposite carriageway and was struck by another vehicle.
An inquest has heard how Sunderland City Council officers carried out a site visit at the request of the police, to look at ways of improving safety at the junction.
Options include reducing the speed limit to 50mph or closing off the junction altogether.
There were also concerns about the height of the grass which could obstruct the view of drivers.
Pc Gary Matless, who led the investigation into the crash, said the council has a policy of cutting the grass twice a year and that at the time of Mrs Hubbert’s death on August 29, the grass had not yet been cut, but was due to be in ‘the coming weeks’.
He said: “It is a massive tragedy that this has happened before the grass was due to be cut.”
Sunderland coroner Derek Winter has said he will write to the council under Regulation 28 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to draw its attention to the issues. The council must respond within 56 days, and include a timetable of proposed actions to prevent other deaths.
Mr Winter heard how Mrs Hubbert, previously known as Maggiore and born Jacanelli, died after her Nissan Micra was struck by a Toyota Yaris travelling in the opposite direction.
Mrs Hubbert’s car had been travelling eastbound when it crossed over two lanes onto the westbound carriageway.
Pc Matless said that all six witnesses to the collision said the Micra pulled out so close in front of the Yaris the driver had no opportunity to take evasive action.
The accident was reported at 12.12pm and Mrs Hubbert was taken to University Hospital of North Durham, where she was pronounced dead at 1.38pm.
The post-mortem examination showed that the retired confectioner, who was originally from Easington Lane, died from a pleural haemorrhage, caused by a rupture in the right side of her heart. The fatal chest injury was caused by the road traffic collision, the report concluded.
Mrs Hubbert, of Ryehill View, East Rainton, was married to late husband Len, a retired merchant banker, and leaves behind four children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mr Winter recorded a conclusion that Mrs Hubbert died as a result of a road traffic collision.
Eldest son Martin Maggiore, 59, said after the inquest: “We are devastated and still in shock.”
Coun Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland City Council, said: “A scheme of works is being developed for the A690 Stoneygate junction and the City Council is looking at other junctions along this route.
“At the East Rainton junction, consideration is being given to whether a 50mph limit or other changes could be introduced. The majority of grass verges, including those of the A690, are cut three times a year in May, July into August and October into November.”
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