Road-rage woman burned to death, inquest hears22/09/2008 - 20:00:25
A road-rage driver burned to death after ploughing into another car, spinning her wheels until they caught fire, then sitting tight while the flames engulfed her, an inquest heard today.
Serena Sutton-Smith, 54, refused to open the door to free herself from her Vauxhall Nova, even though horrified witnesses were urging her to get out.
A coroner heard she had narrowly avoided hitting Paula Small’s Fiat Punto on the B4632 in Gloucestershire, England, before deciding to ram it.
Ms Sutton-Smith, who suffered bipolar disorder, then put her foot on the accelerator and left it there, causing the tyres to disintegrate and sparks to fly into the brake fluid.
The former bar worker had come out of a side road without stopping, forcing Ms Small to swerve on to a grass verge. The blameless driver was stepping out when Ms Sutton-Smith’s Nova piled into her without warning.
Residents who gathered at the scene saw Ms Sutton-Smith at the wheel with an enraged expression, revving her engine and spinning the wheels.
She was urged to get out of car before she was burnt alive, but the pleas were met with a four-letter word, the inquest at the Shire Hall, Gloucester was told.
Coroner Alan Crickmore recorded a verdict of accidental death after the April 30 tragedy.
Mr Crickmore said the troubled woman had not grasped the life-threatening nature of the situation, due to her condition.
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