AN AMERICAN student killed by a car while walking her dog on a Hampshire road may have become confused about being on the right side of the road, an inquest heard.
Caitlin Homan, 24, died from head and neck injuries after being hit by a blue Vauxhall Corsa in Stockbridge Road, Sparsholt, near Winchester, while walking her dog, Hexe, who also died.
But the inquest in Southampton Coroner’s Court heard how the Corsa driver, Jade Bushnell, had not been speeding, the car had no defects and she had steered to avoid Miss Homan before braking.
Miss Bushnell, an animal management student at Sparsholt College, had been returning to the campus after driving at lunch time on May 15 last year with fellow students to buy chips She told the inquest: “I just remember her [Miss Homan] running out of nowhere and at that point I slammed on my brakes.
“I don’t know whether it was the dog that pulled her out or that she had an instinct to get to the other side.”
Giving evidence, accident investigator Michael Johnston, said the road had no footpath and was darkened by trees which also obstructed views. He said: “The restriction to the Corsa driver’s view, its speed, the presence of the pedestrian and dog in the location where they are not reasonably expected to be found – and that the pedestrian and the Corsa reacting to each other by moving into the same direction, the collision was inevitable.”
Southampton coroner Grahame Short concluded Miss Homan’s death, a day later after being airlifted to Southampton General Hospital, was simply due to a road traffic accident.
He said: “Excess speed was not a factor here because Jade had insufficient time to brake. For reasons which remain unexplained, Caitlin ran across the road in front of the car.
“I can only assume this was an instinctive reaction and when she realised a car was coming towards her, I think, may have been, although she had been living in the country prior to the incident, that it was her instinct that she was on the wrong side of the road and caused her to run across and be hit by the car.”
Miss Homan, of Canton, Connecticut, had been part of the psychology department at the University of Portsmouth, researching animal psychology. She had been visiting Sparsholt College at the time of the accident and had been walking her dog at lunch time. As reported previously, Dr Sherria Hoskins, head of her department, said Caitlin was a well-loved member of the team.
Her parents did not travel from the US to attend the inquest. But in a statement previously released they told how their daughter’s donated organs had helped at many as six or seven patients.