Hannah’s parents call removal of roadside danger

hannah lodge
hannah lodge

The parents of a teenage motorist who lost her life after her car hit a telegraph pole and weather station are campaigning to have the structures permanently removed.

Hannah Lodge, 18, died when her vehicle overturned after crashing into the pole and station as she drove to Scarborough on the B1249 last November.

Catherine and Mark Lodge, of Wetwang, said their daughter was “beautiful, talented, caring, determined, hardworking - and above all never reckless”.

They are calling for the removal of the pole and weather station after the coroner at Hannah’s inquest branded the structures a “continuing hazard.”

After the accident Mr Lodge discovered a “plethora” of unreported incidents at the spot, as well as seven accidents, including four serious ones.

Last July the power cables were knocked down after another motorist collided with the pole.

Hull and East Riding coroner Prof Paul Marks said the outcome of the accident may have been different if the station or the pole had not been present. They were just a few feet apart.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said Hannah was bright, clearly talented and about to enter life with everything to look forward to, adding: “She was by all accounts a careful driver.”

The coorner said that he would write to East Riding Counci: “The unique combination and siting of the pole and weather station, in my opinion, represents a continuing hazard on that stretch of the B1249.”

A spokesman for the council said the authority was awaiting the coroner’s letter. Once it had been received a decision would be taken as to whether the structures shoiuld be permanently removed.

After the inquest, Hannah’s parents, Catherine and Mark Lodge, said in a statement to the Driffield Times and Post:

In the aftermath of the death of our daughter in an accident on the B1249 near Langtoft on 16 November 16 last year, we were contacted directly and indirectly by a number of people and via a newspaper, who wanted to make us aware of the experiences they had had on this stretch of road.

Two people had inexplicably lost control at low speed on the same morning in the same area where Hannah’s accident had occurred.

The farm Manager at the farm adjacent to the crash site expressed his concern at the continuing pattern of accidents at this location.

Since becoming farm Manager three and a half years ago, he stated it was his belief (often with witnesses to the low speed these accidents occurred) that the unusual camber of the road “pulled” cars to the left ,which sometimes resulted in them ending up on the verge.

The accidents which resulted had seen cars going through the hedge in four different places, cars spinning on correcting, leaving the verge, crossing the carriageway with consequences including; hitting fences, landing to the side of the telegraph pole and weather station and narrowly missing the weather station but hitting the telegraph pole, felling the telegraph pole, going through hedges adjacent to the farm or landing in the farm yard.

The telegraph pole had been felled in a very similar accident only four months prior to the accident which resulted in the death of our daughter.

In a statement read at Hannah’s inquest the Farm Manager stated “we are amazed that after so many near misses and indeed direct hits that someone in authority deems it appropriate to re – erect the pole in the same place when it could easily be placed on our land and therefore further away from the road”.

Following an accident where injury has occurred, Police investigators only look at data for the preceding three years. Having established the exact location of the accident site (54.07 degrees latitude and -0.458 degrees longitude) Hannah’s father Mark reviewed government published accident data for this site available at www.data.gov.uk . This review identified eight accidents at this location had occurred between 2005 and 2012 four of which were serious in addition to the fatal accident in which our daughter was involved and the large number of unreported accidents to which the adjacent farm testify.

Hull and East Riding Coroner Paul Marks declared his intention to issue a “rule 43” into the positioning of the weather station and telegraph pole at this location on the B1249 at the inquest into the death of our daughter.

“This is the highest legal power available to a Coroner. It is rarely invoked and is where there is risk of further deaths occurring.

Professor Marks said at the inquest “the unique combination and siting of the pole and the weather station in my opinion represent a continuing hazard to road users on that stretch of the B1249”

He concluded by saying Hannah was a young woman who was bright, vivacious and clearly talented about to enter adult life with everything going for her” We could not agree more.

Hannah was a beautiful, bright, talented and caring girl. Never reckless, she was aware of the dangers in life whilst always seeing and embracing the “magic” in the human experience.

Her loss is absolutely devastating.

In early summer last year, her mum Catherine shopped with Hannah for her summer holiday taken with friends to celebrate coming of age and leaving school.

The telegraph pole on the B1249 had just been felled in an accident, although Hannah’s family did not know this then.

On the way to the inquest last Wednesday, Hannah’s mum and dad walked through the same shopping centre, past the same shops without her. The experiences we have had between these two events we would not wish on anyone.

We hope these two dangerous manmade objects will be removed to prevent another young person suffering the same fate.”