Wife killed in 999 crash on day of her husband’s champagne retirement
Wendy Williams was killed as she pulled out in front of an ambulance in 2009Husband Terry Williams told an inquest of hearing the devastating news
Kevin Webster was found not guilty of causing death by careless driving
12:25 GMT, 5 March 2013
22:01 GMT, 5 March 2013
Tragic news on retiring: Terry Williams was devastated to discover that on the day he retired, his wife Wendy was killed in a crash with an ambulance
It was meant to be the first day of the rest of their lives.
Terry Williams had arrived home, laden with champagne and gifts, to celebrate his retirement with his wife after a 40-year career.
But their dreams of sharing a new stage of life together were not to be.
Thirty minutes later, police arrived with the devastating news that his wife Wendy had been killed in a car crash.
This week Mr Williams described the dreadful moment he found out his wife of 37 years was never coming home, when the day that should have been one of their happiest together turned into tragedy.
Mrs Williams was killed when her car was hit by an ambulance racing to hospital at 75mph two days before Christmas in 2009.
At the inquest into her death, Mr Williams, 63, a former consultant engineer, said: ‘I retired on the same day after 40 years working.
‘I came home with champagne and retirement gifts. Thirty minutes later there were two policemen on the doorstep telling me she’d been killed.’
He described his 60-year-old wife and mother of two as a ‘very active lady’, adding: ‘She always looked forward to Christmas and loved having the family around. I’m sure she was looking forward to the holiday break.’
Mrs Williams was driving her Ford Ka at a busy junction in Lichfield when she pulled out suddenly.
Her car was hit by an ambulance, which had its sirens on as it raced at speeds of more than 75mph to help a five-year-old boy who had swallowed a coin. Paramedic Kevin Webster, who was driving the ambulance, was found not guilty of causing her death by careless driving at a trial in 2011.
At the inquest on Monday, South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh confirmed that Mrs Williams, who had lived with her husband in a 300,000 four-bedroom detached house in Castle Bromwich, West Midlands, died as a result of a tragic accident.
Giving evidence, paramedic Mr Webster said he had no chance to stop and did not expect Mrs Williams to pull out at the junction. ‘Initially when I saw the car it was in the junction. As I travelled along the road the car appeared to pull out, stop, then it made a second movement,’ he said.
‘That was the last movement. It pulled out from the junction.
Tragic accident: Mrs Williams died when she pulled out just yards in front of an ambulance car at the junction of Tamworth Road and Quarry Hill Lane, Lichfield (pictured)
‘I applied the brakes quite sharpish but unfortunately still impacted the car.’
Mrs Williams’ family has called on West Midlands Ambulance Service to impose speed limits on drivers and bring training in line with that of police emergency drivers.
The inquest heard a new ambulance policy advises drivers not to exceed the speed limit by more than 50 per cent, although this is a guide rather than rule.
Call for action: Since the accident in which paramedic Kevin Webster was driving (right), Mrs Williams' family have called on West Midlands Ambulance Service to impose speed limits on drivers and bring training in line with that of police emergency drivers
Mr Williams has previously spoken of the family’s concerns about the ambulance involved in the crash that killed his wife.
It was travelling at nearly twice the
speed limit despite the fact that the call-out had been listed as a
category C, the lowest emergency rating.
‘Wendy was a beautiful 60-year-old looking forward to retirement with her family,’ said Mr Williams.
‘We hope that something can be done in future to avoid this sort of accident.’