Felixstowe teenager Ellie Nixon may have fallen asleep at the wheel before crash, inquest told

Ellie Nixon

Ellie Nixon - Credit: Archant

Family of a teenage girl who died in a road crash have said they hope people will think twice about driving when they are tired.

Ellie Nixon

Ellie Nixon - Credit: Archant

Evidence presented at the inquest of Ellie Nixon yesterday suggested the 18-year-old Suffolk New College student may have fallen asleep at the wheel of her car while driving home on the night of May 13 last year.

Miss Nixon’s silver Ford Ka collided with the back of a stationary lorry, which was parked in a layby on the eastbound A14 between the junctions for Seven Hills and Kirton. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem revealed the popular teenager, whose funeral was attended by more than 500 people, had no alcohol or illegal drugs in her body at the time of the crash.

However “therapeutic levels” of codeine, which she had taken earlier for a headache, were found. Drowsiness is one of its known side effects.

Evidence read to the inquest revealed Miss Nixon, from Felixstowe, had gone to college as normal during the day, where she was studying beauty therapy, and afterwards had gone to the home of friend she had been talking to after recently matching on Tinder.

She left for the journey home after 11pm, with the collision occurring around 11.30pm.

Pc Andy Fossey, a traffic officer with Suffolk Constabulary who investigated the crash, said no defects had been found Miss Nixon’s car which would have contributed to the incident and neither the road surface nor the weather conditions would have played a part.

Most Read

However he said the absence of any tyre marks on the road suggested Miss Nixon had not attempted to brake before the crash and it had not been caused by a sudden change of direction or loss of control.

A device fitted in the car for insurance purposes also showed Miss Nixon had been driving at around the speed limit during her journey and her mobile phone had not been a distraction at any point during the trip.

A statement released by Miss Nixon’s family, represented at the inquest by her mother Valena and sister Jade, said: “Ellie was an enthusiastic, bubbly, caring girl who was known for her beaming smile and energy for life. She has left a huge gap in many people’s lives and we miss her every day.

“We have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness and as a family we are forever grateful for the way that everyone continues to keep Ellie’s memory alive.

“If anything good can come from today’s inquest we hope that it makes people think twice about driving when they are tired.”

Recording his conclusion coroner Nigel Parsley said: “Ellie died as a result of a road traffic collision.”

To Miss Nixon’s family he added: “It was a truly sad, sad case and I am truly sorry for your loss.”