Social worker, 24, was killed five days before graduation ceremony when she hit a tree at 90mph after nail punctured her tyre as she drove without a seatbelt, inquest hears
- Talia Roberts, 24, was on her way to work when she crashed into a tree at 90mph
- Emergency services rushed to her aid but she was declared dead at the scene
- Talia had just landed her dream job and moved into a new house with her partner
- Investigators discovered a nail had punctured her tyre as she drove at speed
A social worker died just five days before her graduation ceremony when she hit a tree at 90mph after a nail punctured her tyre.
Talia Roberts, 24, was not wearing a seatbelt as she drove her Ford Fiesta to work at North Lincolnshire Council at 9am on December 5, 2019, an inquest into her death heard yesterday.
She was travelling at around 85mph to 90mph, with the speed limit for the road being 60mph.
Talia, who had just landed her dream job and had moved into a new house with partner Elliott, smashed into a tree in a single vehicle crash, the inquest at Cleethorpes Town Hall was told.
She was declared dead at the scene.
Humberside Police forensic collision examiner PC Robert Sawyer said a nail was discovered in a front tyre that caused it to be underinflated.
Talia Roberts, 24, was not wearing a seatbelt as she drove her Ford Fiesta to work at North Lincolnshire Council
Humberside Police forensic collision examiner PC Robert Sawyer said a nail was discovered in a front tyre that caused it to be underinflated
The manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure for the Ford Fiesta is 34psi but Talia’s was only at 12psi.
PC Sawyer said the deflated tyre would not have been immediately noticeable. He told the hearing the nail had only recently punctured the tyre as there was no evidence that it has been in place for any length of time.
The police officer said: ‘Coming over some of the undulations, as it has come down and there may have been some kind of steering attempt and the car started to rotate. The car may have lurched one way or the other. But it started to rotate and cross over on to the verge and struck the tree.’
He added: ‘It is possible there was some braking. It would have been difficult to contain.’
The severe front impact of the collision caused the speedometer to ‘freeze’ between 85mph and 90mph, the officer said.
He told there was no evidence a seatbelt was being worn at the time of the impact.
She had not been using her mobile phone, crash investigators revealed after retrieving it from the scene.
A post mortem examination revealed the newly-qualified social worker died from chest injuries.
Talia had just landed her dream job and had moved into a new house with partner Elliott
First on the scene, motorist Kerry Ogg said she was travelling in the opposite direction on Ermine Street when she saw a plume of smoke ahead.
She called emergency services. But she realised that the driver had been killed in the impact with the tree.
Police officers were first on the scene, soon followed by fire crews and ambulance paramedics.
In tribute, elder sister Kirsty Holden told how their mother Dawn died in 2012, when Talia was a student formerly at Baysgarth School and then as a hair and beauty student at college.
After the death of their mother she went on to study health and social care at the University of Nottingham.
A graduation ceremony was held five days after the tragedy. Her family still attended the ceremony in her memory.
Kirsty said: ‘Everyone loved her so much. She excelled in everything she did.’
She added: ‘Sadly her new life was cut short just five days before her graduation. We still attended the graduation.’
The sister told how Talia had grown up with a hole in her heart but it had healed as she grew older.
‘She was a fantastic, loving person with a heart of gold, loved by everyone. She had achieved her dream job.’
Talia, who had a twin brother, Soul, was aunt to four nieces and three nephews.
Kirsty added: ‘She was usually late for everything. It was a standing joke in the family that she would be late for her own funeral.
‘At her funeral we arranged for everyone to be in 15 minutes before so it appeared she was late.
PC Sawyer said the deflated tyre would not have been immediately noticeable. He told the hearing the nail had only recently punctured the tyre as there was no evidence that it has been in place for any length of time
She had not been distracted by her mobile phone and there was no medical problem, the inquest heard
‘She had a happy life and achieved so much in the time she was with us.’
After the hearing Kirsty said: ‘We want her to be remembered for the way she was and not the accident.’
In his conclusion, Grimsby and North Lincolnshire coroner, Mark Kendall said: ‘Talia Roberts was a young woman with everything to look forward to, with a new home and new career.’
He said the extent of the damage was considerable given the speed of the vehicle.
She had not been distracted by her mobile phone and there was no medical problem.
The coroner said the front tyre was underinflated due to a nail which had not been present for long and would not have been obvious to the driver.
He said there had been no time to react to the loss of control.
‘Even if she had been wearing a seatbelt the outcome may not have been any different,’ he added.
Mr Kendall said the death was due to a road traffic collision. He apologised for the length of time for the resumed inquest to be held following the death in December 2019.
‘I am sorry she was lost in these tragic consequences,’ he said.
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