Young driver over drink drive limit

Fatal RTA scene, Skinner Lane, Pontefract.  p309e422
Fatal RTA scene, Skinner Lane, Pontefract. p309e422

A teenage driver from Collingham drowned when her car plunged into a drainage ditch after she lost control of it at low speed following a night out in Pontefract.

Sophie Bywater, 19, was around two-and-a-half times over the drink drive limit when her VW Polo careered off Skinner Lane at Pontefract just before 2.30am on Saturday May 31, Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard.

The Polo mounted the pavement and went over a grass verge before crashing through a metal fence panel in front of the ditch at the edge of the Alkane energy park on the former Prince of Wales colliery site.

It ended up on its roof in the water-filled ditch in a position where it would not have been possible to open the doors.

Police collision investigator James Viney said Miss Bywater had failed to negotiate a right-hand bend and had only been travelling at between 10 and 20mph when the Polo struck the fence.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff said: “The sad irony is it was just at that location there was this expanse of water was just behind the fence.”

Blood tests revealed Miss Bywater was over the drink drive limit and had traces of cocaine in her system.

The inquest heard she may have been using her mobile phone when the accident happened.

Miss Bywater, who had been a pupil at Sherburn High, had given her friend Natalie Dimery a lift to Pontefract from her home in Knottingley and the two friends had planned to catch a taxi back to Knottingley.

The inquest heard that Miss Dimery told police that Miss Bywater said she was going to the toilet at Big Fellas nightclub in the early hours, but didn’t return.