Young mum, 24, ‘suffered fit at wheel before BMW crash that killed her and five-year-old son’


A YOUNG mum may have suffered a fit at the wheel of her BMW before a horror crash killed her and her five-year-old son, an inquest heard.

The car Rebecca Smith, 24, and little Corey Rhodes were in veered onto the opposite side of the road and hit a Mercedes head on.


Rebecca Smith, 24, and little Corey Rhodes died last year in a horror car crash[/caption]

The inquest into her death heard she was diagnosed with epilepsy aged 13, and her other son, Kyle, who survived, said she had a fit while driving on August 16, last year.

Witnesses also described her having a fit at the scene of the crash in Draycott, Staffs.

Corey was given first aid but died after being rushed to hospital, and his mum died the next day.

North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court was also told tests had revealed the mother-of-two was twice the legal drug-drive limit for cannabis. Her partner told the court she would have three cannabis cigarettes a night.

Witness Craig Barks told the hearing he saw the white van lift up in the air following the impact.

In a statement, he said: “I was travelling along Uttoxeter Road towards the A50 in a Citroen Picasso. I was driving behind a Mercedes Sprinter at 35mph.

“I heard an almighty bang and I saw the van in front of me lift up about four or five feet from the surface.

“I got out of the van and approached a silver car and saw a woman sat in the driver’s seat. She appeared to be fitting as her head was down to the left side and was twitching and she had foam in her mouth.”


Linda Woolliscroft was travelling in the same direction as Rebecca in her Land Rover when she heard a loud bang.

In a statement read out at the hearing, she said: “I saw a car approaching from behind, it was a sliver car that I thought was going to overtake me.

“Then I heard an almighty bang and I wasn’t sure what had caused the bang. I looked across and noticed there had been a crash.

“I parked my car on a grass verge, put my hazards on and went over to try to help. I noticed it was the silver car that was behind me moments before.

“I noticed there were two young children in the back of the car and the driver of the van was on the phone to the emergency services who repeated ‘I couldn’t stop’.

“I went over to the BMW and one man was trying to assess those in the car. I noticed the young boys in the back and they started CPR on Corey.”

As soon as I walked through the door, the first thing he said to me was ‘Mum’s had a fit’ and that she had no hands on the steering wheel.

James Rhodes

The inquest was told it is not known whether Rebecca suffered a fit before the crash or as a result of the accident.

But her long-term partner James Rhodes told the court that when he visited Kyle he told him Rebecca had suffered a fit.

He said: “As soon as I walked through the door, the first thing he said to me was ‘Mum’s had a fit’ and that she had no hands on the steering wheel.

“He would have seen Becky having fits before and he knows what one is.”

He added she had started to suffer more regular fits eight months before she died.

After the tragedy Mr Rhodes wrote on Facebook: “I’m so broken and don’t know what I’m going to do without these two in my life. I would like to thank everyone for all the kind messages means a lot to me.”

Collision investigator PC Roger Wetton said there was no evidence that Rebecca had informed the DVLA about her epilpesy.

PC Wetton said: “The BMW drove along the central hatch marks into the lane of the Mercedes. The van driver didn’t see it as a problem until he had insufficient time to.

“A collision occurred between the front of both vehicles, both rotated in an anti-clockwise direction. Witnesses say the driver appeared to be having a fit.

“Her condition was not disclosed to the DVLA, which would have resulted in her licence being removed.”

Assistant Coroner for North Staffordshire David James recorded that both Rebecca and Corey died from multiple injuries as a result of a road traffic collision.

BPM Media

Corey was given first aid at the scene, but he died shortly after arriving at hospital[/caption]

BPM Media

Rebecca’s long-term partner James Rhodes told the court that when he visited surviving son Kyle he told him his mum had suffered a fit[/caption]

BPM Media

The fatal crash happened on Uttoxeter Road in Draycott, Staffs, on August 16 last year as the 24 year-old and her sons drove to Poundland[/caption]

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