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‘Pedal confusion’ cause of West Hampstead car smash death

PUBLISHED: 15:53 22 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:24 23 September 2010

‘Pedal confusion’ was the cause death of a woman who smashed her car into a tree in West Hampstead an inquest heard today.

‘Pedal confusion’ caused the death of a woman who smashed her car into a tree in West Hampstead an inquest heard today.

Afsaneh Hejezi of Consort Lodge on Prince Albert Road in St John’s Wood was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after her silver Lexus collided with the tree outside West Hampstead police station at 4am on 23 May.

The passenger in the car reported a sudden acceleration just as the road began to bend to the left.

At the same time Ms Hejezi, 55, shouted her companion’s name twice and shouted “look” in Iranian.

The court heard that the car then mounted the kerb and smashed through the fence at an estimate 50 - 60 miles per hour.

The most severe damage was to the drivers-side door and Ms Hejezi sustained fatal injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ms Hejezi was driving home from a birthday party in a nearby restaurant where she had been celebrating with 20 female friends.

However a toxicology report revealed that Ms Hejezi was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs that evening.

Accident investigator PC Stephen Sawyer said that the acceleration was most likely caused by ‘peddle confusion’ – when a driver presses down on the accelerator rather than the break peddle.

PC Sawyer told the court that Ms Hejezi had changed here shoes just before getting into her car that evening and the change of shape of shoe may have contributed to her confusion over the peddles.

The coroner pronounced a verdict of accidental death.


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