A FORGOTTEN phone charger may have contributed to a horrific car crash that claimed the lives of an American serviceman and the much-loved director of a Fenland musical group, an inquest heard.
Staff Sgt Bradly Ring (26) had forgotten the charger and returned to his Littleport home to fetch it. But this caused him to run late and may have cost the lives of Mr Ring and Kathy Faelber (56), formerly of March.
While driving along the A1101 between Littleport and Ely, apparently at high speed, he lost control of his car and hit the Mazda 2 being driven by Mrs Faelber, director of Fenland Music Centre.
She was on her way to a music concert being held at St Peter’s Church in March when the accident happened on April 2.
At Friday’s inquest, held in Wisbech, her long-term partner, Robert Nicholl, described her as “a happy person with a good state of mind”. She had spent the afternoon relaxing at her Mildenhall home before returning to March for the concert.
Mr Ring had left his house at around 4.30pm, as he needed to be at Mildenhall airbase for 5pm, but returned minutes later having forgotten the charger.
Mr Ring’s girlfriend, Enid Chile, tearfully told the inquest she had “tried to rush him out” in case he missed the coach to the airport and he had always liked being on time.
Other drivers on the road described seeing Mr Ring driving at “high speed” before hitting a bump in the road and losing control of the silver Honda. It weaved across the road, briefly going onto the grass verge before crossing the carriageway and colliding with Mrs Faelber’s green Mazda.
“I saw him shoot to his right and then it was almost like an explosion of car parts,” van driver Richard Rice told coroner William Morris.
No defects were found with either vehicle and neither driver had consumed alcohol. Mrs Faelber died from severe head injuries and Mr Ring died of multiple traumatic injuries.
PC Francis Crawford, a police collision investigator, described the crash as “almost a 90 degree T-bone collision”.
The front of the Mazda collided with the nearside of the Honda after it crossed onto the opposite side of the road, causing severe damage to both vehicles and resulting in the deaths of the occupants.
In concluding the inquest, Mr Morris said: “This is a very sad matter. It is quite clear to me that the Mazda was being driven in a correct and perfectly proper manner. All the evidence I have heard suggests that Bradly Ring lost control of his vehicle.
“Because of Mr Ring losing control at what may have been an inappropriate speed, both the deceased lost their lives.”
Mr Morris returned a verdict of accidental death for both Mrs Faelber and Mr Ring.