Inquest rules that Emma’s death was an accident — (The Watford Observer)

SSRI Ed note: Teen on Prozac for relationship problems splits with boyfriend, takes overdose, drives at high speed into bridge w/o seatbelt, dies, coroner rules an accident.

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The Watford Observer

23 Jan 1999

THE death of teenager Emma Taylor on the Bradenham Road was an accident, an inquest ruled this week.

Emma, 18, of Caversham Green, Aylesbury, was killed on September 5 when her Ford Fiesta smashed into the bridge on the A4010 Bradenham Road between High Wycombe and Princes Risborough.

Emma, who had just spilt from her boyfriend, left friends in Princes Risborough to get a hamburger from High Wycombe Burger King when the accident happened.

Dr Michael Turner, consultant pathologist at Wycombe Hospital, told the High Wycombe inquest the teenager died from severe chest injuries.

Emma’s best friend Karen Endersby, of Abbots Way, Monk Risborough, was the last person to see her alive.

She said: “Emma came to my flat at 9.20pm. She was a little upset. She left about 9.30pm to get a hamburger. I saw her before she drove off and she said she was fine. I told her I wanted her back in one piece.

“She broke up with her boyfriend on the day of the accident. She was on Prozac due to her relationship problems. She may have had other worries as well.

“Emma is an inexperienced driver. She doesn’t wear her seatbelt most times. It’s not natural for her.”

Investigating police officer PC Duncan Thurlwell, based at Aylesbury, said there was insufficient evidence to calculate the speed of Emma’s Fiesta. She was not wearing her seatbelt and the road was fine.

He added: “There was no evidence of the driver braking or reducing the speed.”

Emma was rushed to hospital, but died shortly after arrival.

Dr Turner also told the inquest that Emma had taken a “paracetamol overdose”, but it did not lead to her death.

He remarked: “Her stomach contained a large amount of paracetamol,” adding it “had not got into her bloodstream”.

Dr Turner said the amount would not have brought about drowsiness and could have been taken for a headache.

Summing up, Bucks Coroner Mr Hulett said matters had been made more complex by the paracetamol discovery during the post-mortem.

He went on: “There is, attached to this case, some suggestion she may have harmed herself because of the break-up. That is not what is in my mind. The only hard fact is that the vehicle left the road for reasons unknown.”

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Emma’s mum Gillian Taylor said: “I am pleased with the verdict. I support the campaign to reduce the speed limit on the road because I feel that the road and the traffic going under that bridge goes far too fast. I feel that the speed limit should be 30 or 40. I also think that the inside of the bridge should be painted white so it shows up more.”