Mum killed instantly after 'losing control' of car in heavy rain and hitting fence

·2-min read
Antonia Marie Shepherd, 38, was killed in  a crash on the M61 last year (Police)
Antonia Marie Shepherd, 38, was killed in a crash on the M61 last year (Police)

A mum-of-four was killed instantly after “losing control” of her car in heavy rain on the motorway and hitting a fence, an inquest heard.

Antonia Marie Shepherd, 38, from Lancashire, died when a fence post pierced the side of her Kia Sportage on the M61 close to Adlington in June last year, LancLive reported.

Miss Shepard, who was also known as Toni, was described as a “ray of light” and “kind-hearted” by her family following her death.

A statement from Miss Shepard’s family said: "Toni was a much-loved daughter, sister, partner and friend but her most important role in life was as a wonderful mum to her four children.”

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General view of Preston Coroners Court
The inquest took place at Preston Coroners Court (Getty)

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Collision investigator PC Jason Colclough examined the scene following her death.

"It had stopped raining when I got there, but en route there it was raining heavily and there was a lot of spray on the motorway but the M61 was draining so there was no standing water,” he told an inquest at Preston Coroners' Court.

PC Colclough said CCTV from Highways England and a dashcam from a passing HGV showed Miss Shepard was travelling at around 80mph, and there were no other cars nearby.

He added: "For no reason, she seems to react and steers heavily to the left, the vehicle spins, she goes across the carriageway and up the banking.

"The vehicle strikes the fence and one of the posts punctured through and struck the driver."

PC Colclough said there was nothing she could do once her car had begun to spin when she was driving at that speed.

Coroner Richard Taylor said Miss Shepherd would have been killed instantly after he viewed a scan from a post mortem that revealed she died from trauma.

He added her vehicle was “perfectly roadworthy” and heavy rain was most likely the reason she lost control.

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Mr Taylor concluded Miss Shepherd died due to a road traffic collision and the whole crash from the time she lost control would have taken seconds.

He said: "I think it is more than relevant that the conditions were wet at the time.

"She was in the outside lane, there weren’t many vehicles, and for some reason, whether from driving on the rumble strip or from the rain, she has over-adjusted her steering and that is the only explanation for the vehicle losing control.”

Miss Shepherd’s dad Peter Garner was at the inquest.

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