A grandmother was tragically killed alongside her friend in a road accident just minutes after welcoming the arrival of her daughter’s baby in hospital.
Marianne Parker, 44, was being driven home from hospital by friend Damien Gregory, 38, when his Citroen veered across the lane into the path of a lorry on the A30 near Marazanvose in Cornwall.
It is thought Mr Gregory may have nodded off at the wheel in the incident at around 6.25pm on March 28 after a long night at The Royal Cornwall Hospital.
Mrs Parker, from Tintagel, and Mr Gregory, from Camelford, both died at the scene of the four-vehicle collision.
At the inquest at Truro Coroner’s Court on Monday, a witness described how Mr Gregory’s car had switched lanes and clipped his car shortly before the accident, Cornwall Live reports.
The driver of the HGV, Matthew Crisp, said he had come around a bend to see the Citroen heading straight towards him. He said: ‘I have no idea where it came from and instantly thought ‘oh sh*t’, I tried to avoid it but it was too late.’
Assistant coroner for Cornwall, Stephen Covell recorded a conclusion of a road traffic collision, and added it was impossible to be certain how Mr Gregory had become distracted.
Tests revealed neither of the deceased had alcohol or illegal substances in their blood and there was no evidence Mr Gregory was using a mobile phone.
Following their deaths, the families of both victims paid tribute to them.
Mr Parker’s family said: ‘Marianne, a loving daughter, sister, mother, stepmother and grandmother, was tragically taken away from us all.
‘She is very sadly missed by everyone who knew her. Marianne had a beautiful, infectious smile and always lit up any room. She has been taken away far too early. She will always be in the hearts of everyone who knew her.’
Damien’s family said he was ‘the life and soul’ and added: ‘Damien was a loving son, brother, uncle and father, who tragically lost his life on March 28.
‘He will be sadly missed by anyone that knew him. Damien was the life and soul, loving and kind, with the biggest heart. Taken far too early, RIP Damien Charles Gregory. Always in our hearts, forever in our memories.’