Inquest hears woman found friend's crashed car

The crash happened on Thursday 11 January. Credit: Craig McGlasson

An inquest has heard a friend of a woman who died in a car crash with an ambulance discovered the incident on her way to work.

Lauren McFarland, who was 30, died following a tragedy which occurred east of the Lakes town in which she lived, close to Threlkeld, at around 8:50am on Thursday 11 January.

The collision involved a red Fiat driven by Miss McFarland, and an ambulance.

Paramedics travelling in the ambulance were not seriously injured, Cumbria Police said in the aftermath. There were no patients on board and no blue lights were activated at the time of the collision.

A stretch of the A66 was closed for several hours after the crash as an investigation got underway.

This morning assistant Cumbria coroner Robert Cohen said it was “plainly appropriate”, in light of the reported circumstances, that he should formally open an inquest into Miss McFarland’s death.

A statement before the Cockermouth coroners’ court, confirming the deceased’s identity, had been provided by apprentice electrical Freya Graham.

Mr Cohen noted: “She indicates that she is friend of Lauren McFarland and that she was travelling on the A66 herself to go to work. She saw there was smoke. She noticed a crashed ambulance and a couple of other vehicles.

“She got out to help. She noticed a female paramedic get out of the driver’s side of the ambulance. Then she saw the crashed car and she saw that it was her friend, Lauren. She saw her face. She knew it was Lauren. She has known Lauren for eight to nine years.”

Mr Cohen adjourned the inquest to a preliminary date of 2 July this year.

After her death, Miss McFarland’s family paid tribute to a “beautiful, caring and confident person” who had a new job she loved and had just returned from a dream adventure to the Himalayas and Everest Base Camp.

“Lauren touched the hearts of everyone she met with her happy and outgoing personality,” said her family. “She was, at last, in a happy place and was looking forward to a full and exciting future.

“Prematurely taken away from us, she will be sadly missed by all who knew her.”

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