A WOMAN motorist died after being dazzled by the sun and crashing her car head-on into a 53-seater coach, an inquest heard.

Melissa Ruth Whiteoak, 21, of Chapel Rise, Billington, died from multiple injuries despite the brave efforts of staff nurse Joanne Wagget who was one of the first people on the scene of the crash in Mytton Road, Whalley.

Miss Wagget, of Cottam Close, Whalley, arrived minutes after Miss Whiteoak's Ford Sierra had collided with the coach driven by Alan Percy, 43, of Sandown Court, Preston.

Mr Percy told the inquest that Miss Whiteoak's vehicle had suddenly veered across the road into his path.

Although he was not obliged to answer questions at the inquest, Mr Percy said he had done so out of respect for the dead woman's family.

"I heard that her sister was having difficulty accepting her death and I have written to that lady in all honesty explaining exactly what happened," said Mr Percy.

Earlier, witnesses had said that driving towards Whalley from Mytton the sun had been blinding as they came out from under the road bridge just before the accident site.

David Tunnicliffe, who had travelled the road minutes before the accident said that as he came under the bridge he had been immediately blinded and had to slow to a virtual standstill. Miss Whiteoak had been to a farm on Mytton Road to see to her horse and was on her way to work as an outbound tele-sales clerk at Simon Jersey at Altham when the accident happened at about 8.40am.

After colliding with the bus, Miss Whiteoak's car had been pushed backwards into a car parked half in the road and half on the pavement.

Police accident inspector David Aitcheson, said that as Miss Whiteoak had gone past the parked car she had crossed the white line and collided with the coach. He said she would almost certainly have been blinded by the sunlight.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Andre Rebello said he wished to commend and thank Miss Wagget for her heroic attempt to try and help in an impossible situation.

"It may be this young lady's job to work in the intensive care unit at a general hospital," said Mr Rebello. "However, working in that highly technical environment bears no resemblance to trying to provide emergency first aid in the wreckage of a motor vehicle and she is to be commended."

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