Crash a ‘tragic accident’

Melissa Bladen
Melissa Bladen
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A YOUNG student at Pontefract’s NEW College died after the car in which she was a passenger skidded on black ice and careered straight into the path of an oncoming lorry.

Melissa Bladen, 18, died when the car driven by her mother hit a patch of black ice and slid across a carriageway earlier this year.

An inquest at Sheffield Coroner’s Court last week heard nothing could have prevented the accident at Moor Lane in Brierley in which the teenager suffered fatal head injuries.

After hearing evidence from witnesses and road traffic accident experts on the conditions of the road, assistant deputy coroner Robert Forrest, recording an accidental verdict, said it was an “absolutely ghastly, tragic accident”.

A statement from Melissa’s mother, Tracey Bladen, said they left their home in Great Houghton on the morning of February 16 and set off wearing their seat belts, but she was unable to recall the crash.

She said: “This has changed my life beyond recognition. Melissa was a joy, an inspiration and a beautiful young woman. I was truly blessed to have her as my daughter.”

Witness Lyndsey Partlow told in a statement how she was travelling along Moor Lane when she saw Mrs Bladen’s car hit a patch of ice and spin to the right, smashing its passenger side into a lorry.

Collision investigator PC John Bashforth of South Yorkshire Police, said when he left his car at the scene of the accident he was “slipping about like Bambi”.

He said: “If the lorry had not been there I am sure neither party would have been hurt as there was a wide grass verge. The lorry was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Pauline Hagen, NEW college principal, said: “Melissa was a talented, lively and lovely young woman who had a very bright future. She was a valued member of the college, contributing much to the work of the student executive and fully involved in both academic and extra-curricular side of the college.

“Our thoughts are with her family, whose lives are so deeply affected by this loss.”