Young mother was over the limit before fatal crash that killed her and teenager

Passenger Casey Hood, 18, was killed in the crash. (SWNS)
Passenger Casey Hood, 18, was killed in the crash. (SWNS)

A 27-year-old woman was over the limit when she crashed her car into a tree, killing herself and a teenage passenger, an inquest has heard.

The hearing was told that Lucy Leadbeater, 27, was uninsured, and that she was driving "dangerously" before she crashed in the village of Denne Hill, Kent, in September 2018.

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Neither Ms Leadbeater, nor Casey Hood, 18, the passenger killed in the crash, were wearing seatbelts.

Casey’s mother Natalie Hood, 47, was found dead from a drug overdose two days later after posting on Facebook: "I just want my little girl back.”

An inquest into her death was opened last month during which it emerged that she died from morphine toxicity.

Casey's mother Natalie Hood posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook before being found dead two days after the crash. (SWNS)
Casey's mother Natalie Hood posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook before being found dead two days after the crash. (SWNS)

Ms Leadbeater’s Toyota Yaris had been followed by police to a motorway lay-by after it was spotted driving erratically by officers near Canterbury police station.

A police van pulled into the lay-by beside the Toyota Yaris and an officer spoke briefly with Ms Leadbeater, who drove off mid-conversation.

Officers followed and came across the wreckage of the car on its side in Denne Hill at about 3.50am on 14 September, 2018.

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Tests later revealed Ms Leadbeater, who had been drinking with friends, had 87 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood in her system, above the legal limit of 80.

Police crash investigators concluded she had lost control on a bend before hitting a tree.

Assistant coroner Scott Matthewson concluded that both Casey Hood and Ms Leadbeater had died in a road traffic accident.

He said: "It is obvious from the evidence that Lucy was substantially intoxicated.

"We will never know why she drove off from the lay-by because I cannot say, on the balance of probabilities, that she was aware of the police presence."

Police crash investigators said Ms Leadbeater had lost control on a bend before hitting a tree.

Parts of the report were read out at the inquest, detailing how passengers in the rear of the Toyota were "scared" by how dangerously Miss Leadbeater was driving, and had asked her to slow down.

One even got out of the Yaris in the lay-by moments before the crash, while another pulled the handbrake in an effort to stop the car.

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