Family devastated by grandmother's death in car crash

THE HUMAN cost of the tragic death of a much-loved grandmother was laid bare at an inquest yesterday. The hearing into the death of Irene Jorge, aged 66, of Newgate Close, St Albans, revealed the devastation felt by her family and everyone involved in the

THE HUMAN cost of the tragic death of a much-loved grandmother was laid bare at an inquest yesterday.

The hearing into the death of Irene Jorge, aged 66, of Newgate Close, St Albans, revealed the devastation felt by her family and everyone involved in the Boxing Day accident last year.

The inquest heard that there was a prosecution pending for careless driving against Aaron John, 32, of Hatfield, the driver of a high-performance Nissan sports car as a result of the crash between his car and a Vauxhall Corsa being driven by Mrs Jorge's nephew Manuel Olim near the Smallford roundabout in Hatfield Road, St Albans.

Mr Olim, whose injuries have prevented him from working since the accident, was driving his aunt to see her husband Antonio sick in hospital with cancer.


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Mr Jorge subsequently died a week after the tragic death of his wife of 40 years. Their son David said after the inquest: "He was so overwhelmed by mum's death. He just gave up."

Mrs Jorge, who had not been wearing a seat belt, was killed instantly at the scene when Mr John's car span out of control over to the wrong side of the road. The Nissan hit the driver's side front end of the Corsa on its passenger side.

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The inquest heard that Anthony Austin had been driving behind Mr Olim when he saw the Nissan crash into the Corsa on the wrong side of the road.

He said: "It was so sudden. I saw the Corsa try to brake then I had to steer to avoid hitting both cars. There was nothing the Corsa driver could do."

Mr Olim, who was in court on crutches, said he had been trapped in the car and had to be cut free.

A white-faced Mr John admitted that his company car was a BMW but that he did have access to the Nissan although he had not driven it many times before.

He said he had accelerated away from the roundabout travelling towards St Albans when he suddenly found himself on the wrong side of the road.

He said: "The car was not where it should be. I was aware I was not where I should be and I did not know what had happened."

Mr John had been breath tested at the scene but the test proved negative.

Police investigators gave evidence that the Nissan had been travelling around 39 miles per hours in a 40 mph speed limit when it struck the Corsa which had been travelling around 22mph at the point of impact. They also pointed out that the Nissan was a rear wheel drive vehicle with a powerful three-and-a-litre engine and acceleration could easily cause rear wheels to lose grip causing the car to spin.

Coroner Edward Thomas recorded a verdict that Mrs Jorge had died as a result of the injuries she sustained in a road accident.

He went on to issue a warning to drivers of high-performance cars to handle them with great care especially when they had little experience of driving them and may be used to driving less powerful models.

Mrs Jorge also leaves a daughter Samantha and four grandchildren.

The family were still so grief-stricken that all they were able to say after the inquest was that Mrs Jorge was, " the best mother anyone could ever had.

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