Young woman’s A23 crash death was an ‘absolute tragedy’

Brianna and her boyfriend, Craig Farrant
Brianna and her boyfriend, Craig Farrant
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The death of a woman who crashed on an unlit stretch of the A23 during a hailstorm was an ‘absolute tragedy’, said a coroner.

Brianna Cambridge, 21, who worked for OCS Group at Gatwick, lost control of her Renault Clio on the northbound carriageway at 4am on January 11.

She died of her injuries after her car flipped on to its roof and went into a ditch on a right hand bend north of Pyecombe.

Drivers had crashed nearby as hailstones covered the road like ‘leopard spots’, the hearing in Horsham was told on Friday (June 3).

Coroner Dr David Skipp said: “It was an absolute tragedy and it must have been for the family and for all those who knew her.”

He said Brianna was a young woman who loved her job and life, and made her family proud.

He added: “I believe she came across weather conditions on the A23 which were making driving incredibly difficult, which caused experienced drivers to lose control of their cars and those conditions affected Brianna.

“I suspect the driving conditions were so terrible and she had very little experience of them that it was just a tragic accident.”

PC Rowland Watmore, collision investigation officer at Sussex Police, told the inquest Brianna was the only person directly involved in the crash. He said it was ‘unlikely’ that three other vehicles which had crashed further up the road were in her line of sight.

Abraham Saliba told the inquest he saw several cars lose control as the hailstorm left the road surface looking like ‘leopard spots’. He said he had never seen such poor weather conditions in his 15 years’ of driving. He also apologised to Brianna’s family for being unable to help her after hearing a crash in the ‘very icy’ and ‘dark’ stretch of road.

Brianna’s father Andrew Cambridge said she was in good health, a safe driver and well-rested before the accident. He said Brianna, who had one year driving experience, was ‘always prepared’ before commuting on the A23.

He paid tribute to her ‘larger-than-life character’ and added she and her boyfriend, Craig Farrant, were saving money to move out of her parents’ home in Seaford.

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Cambridge said the family planned raise to £10,000 over the next eight years in her memory.

Brianna worked helping vulnerable people get though passport control at Gatwick. Mr Cambridge said the funds would go to Teddy Treats Children’s Charity, with the support of Seaford Rugby Football Club.

A ‘Brianna Cambridge Day’ annual fundraisier was planned.

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