A boy of seven was fatally injured by a driver talking on her mobile phone while he crossed the road in front of her car.
The accident happened around 4pm just yards from Seth Dixon’s home in Station Road, Tydd Gote, on December 5, 2014 after he posted a letter.
More or less the last thing I said to him was ‘make sure you watch as you cross the road’.Seth’s mum Alice Husband
Seth died from a head injury in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, on December 19.
Senior Coroner for south Lincolnshire Paul Cooper heard evidence that Mondeo driver Amy Asker, from Clenchwarton, made and received a total of seven phone calls in the short distance from her mum’s home in Leverington to the accident scene – and was on the phone at the time her car hit Seth.
Ms Asker, who was prosecuted for careless driving after the tragedy, said: “I didn’t see him until he actually hit the vehicle. He was already on the vehicle. I was screaming. I couldn’t do anything.”
The mobile phone was in the driver’s side door pocket and Ms Asker was talking on speakerphone, although she admitted picking it up to dial.
Police checks also revealed some calls made around the time the crash happened had been deleted, but Ms Asker said other people had handled the phone and she didn’t know how the calls came to be deleted.
Mr Cooper said police accident investigators decided Ms Asker may have seen Seth Dixon sooner had she not been talking on the phone – and may also have been able to take some action to lessen the consequences.
In his narrative conclusion, Mr Cooper said: “I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Ms Asker’s use of the mobile phone contributed to the cause of this child’s unfortunate death.”
Seth’s family attended the inquest today (Wednesday) to listen to the evidence unfold. His mum, Alice Husband, said Seth was experienced in crossing Station Road and had crossed it nearly every day because his gran lived on the opposite side.
Speaking about the day of the crash, she said: “He was quite excited about going to the Christmas fair.
“More or less the last thing I said to him was ‘make sure you watch as you cross the road’.”
Taxi driver Lisa Bunn, from Sutton Bridge, saw “a little lad standing on the side of the road” as she drove along Station Road and slowed down to about 23mph because she thought may be about to run across.
Mrs Bunn said Seth did run across, but not directly in front of her car, and she saw him use two hands to post the letter in the letterbox.
She began to cry as she recalled: “For some reason, I don’t know why, I looked in my rear view mirror – I saw his legs go flying through the air and onto the bonnet of the car.”
Mrs Bunn ran over to help and said Seth wasn’t moving.
She described Ms Asker as “hysterical” and was shouting things like she didn’t see him and he just appeared from nowhere.
Mrs Bunn was on the phone to the ambulance service while a man was checking Seth.
“The man checked his pulse and he didn’t have one so the man started doing CPR,” she said.
Tydd Gote postmistress Jane Wright was unaware of the accident until she learned the news from her son, the man who gave Seth CPR.
Mrs Wright said she had seen Seth cross the road previously and did not consider that he did so competently.
“Every time he came in, whether it was by himself or with his brothers, it was almost like a mantra: ‘watch the roads, be careful’,” she said.
• Police said Ms Asker pleaded guilty in court to careless driving and was fined £195 with five penalty points.