Alice Clark had only been in the job for a few weeks when her ambulance hit the kerb and smashed into the back of the tanker parked in the lay-by near Tonbridge, Kent
Image: SECAmb / SWNS)
A junior paramedic died just weeks into her job after her ambulance drove into a slip road rather than a turning, colliding with a cement truck, an inquest has been heard.
Alice Clark, 21, was killed when the ambulance smashed into the back of the tanker parked in the lay-by on January 5 at 8:16 pm near Tonbridge, Kent.
Ms Clark, of Newington, Sittingbourne, died in the collision and her inquest was opened and adjourned at County Hall, Maidstone.
She had only joined South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) in November.
Her devastated parents paid tribute to their “beautiful, kind” daughter, the day after her tragic death.
The opening of the inquest was told they had been on blue lights, responding to an emergency when the ambulance drove into the slip road, hit the kerb and bounced off a parked lorry before embedding itself in the back of the cement tanker.
The fatal crash happened in a lay-by off the coastbound carriageway and the court heard Edward Riding was driving the ambulance to an emergency on blue lights.
Coroner’s clerk Richard Smith said: “For unknown reasons the vehicle took the slip road to the lay-by instead of the next exit towards the Morley Road roundabout.”
The ambulance hit the kerb, then the back of a parked Scania lorry before bouncing off and embedding itself in the back of a parked and attended Volvo tanker.
Mr Smith continued: “The impact caused the ambulance to become embedded into the rear of the tanker trapping both the driver and front-seat passenger who was Miss Clark.”
A third occupant, Megan Kuhn, was in the back of the ambulance and managed to get out of it with help but she suffered a severe concussion.
Ms Clark had to be cut free by Kent Fire and Rescue. The ambulance driver was flown by air ambulance to King’s College Hospital with life-threatening injuries. She was declared dead at 9.42 pm.
The cause of death was given as lower limb and pelvic fractures with retroperitoneal haemorrhage from a vehicular crash.
Last week, a service was held to remember Ms Clark where flowers were laid. Those at the service included Secamb staff who had attended the crash.
On social media, a post from Secamb said: “Yesterday £SECAmb crews from Paddock Wood and Critical Care paramedics joined with her family and colleagues from Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex in a small service to remember Alice and lay flowers at the scene.”
Yasmin Bekir, who studied at the University of Greenwich with Alice, has set up a Gofundme page to raise money to help her family cope during this time.
Other friends and colleagues and the Health Secretary have also paid tribute to Alice.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.