A mum-of-three died behind the wheel in a horror bank holiday crash.
Chesterfield coroners’ court heard Lisa Barrett “misguidedly” chose to drink-drive when she was “pestered” by a man who wanted to buy drugs.
This case highlights the very real dangers of drinking and drivingDC Bernard Glynn, of Derbyshire police’s collision investigation unit
Ms Barrett, 35, died when her Citroen C3 left Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, and hit a tree at about 9pm on Monday, May 5, last year.
The court heard care worker Ms Barrett had been in the Horse and Jockey pub all day and invited friends to her house in Green Close, Unstone, for more drinks in the evening.
In court, her friend Katie Jackson said a man called Craig Maddock started pestering Ms Barrett – who was “definitely drunk” – about using her car to go and buy some cocaine
She said: “Craig said he wanted some cocaine. He was adamant he was going to take Lisa’s car but she said ‘no’.
“There was no way she was going to let anyone take her car – she loved it, it was her pride and joy.
“He put pressure on her and she eventually said ‘I’ll take you’.
“I called Lisa an idiot but she was adamant she was going to be fine.
“I tried to take her keys and I told her she had three kids but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.”
Ms Barrett, Mr Maddock and another passenger then left the house.
Paul McCandless, assistant coroner for Derbyshire, said Ms Jackson did “everything she could to prevent such a foolish escapade”.
Mr Maddock, who was excused from giving evidence at the inquest, suffered serious head injuries in the crash.
The other passenger suffered a perforated bowel but made a full recovery.
Post-mortem tests revealed Ms Barrett had 240 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood – three times over the legal limit of 80 milligrams.
DC Bernard Glynn, of Derbyshire police’s collision investigation unit, said: “This case highlights the very real dangers of drinking and driving.”
PC Paul Moorcroft, also of the collision investigation unit, said Ms Barrett took a bend at speed before the crash.
Summing up the inquest on Friday, Mr McCandless said: “Alcohol had a direct role to play in skewering Lisa’s judgement both in choosing to drive and then in how she drove.
“I do find that she would not have driven that night unless asked and/or pestered to do so.
“Unfortunately, the evidence is clear that she was so pestered.”
Mr McCandless recorded a conclusion of misadventure.
“Risks that must have been known about, namely the dangers involved in drink-driving, were taken nonetheless,” he said.
A statement issued by legal representatives Minster Law on behalf of Mr Maddock after the inquest read: “A fun-filled bank holiday went terribly wrong and many people continue to live with the consequences of that fatal journey, including Mr Maddock who sustained a severe brain injury in the collision and his mum Michelle who effectively lost a son that day.
“While Mr Maddock did acknowledge in his statement that he suggested taking Ms Barrett’s car to purchase some cigarettes, he ultimately was not responsible for her decision to drive the car when three times the legal drink-drive limit. This was borne out by the testimony of two police officers at the inquest, who also referred to the striation marks at the scene of the accident, which could only have been caused by excessive speed.
“The testimony of Ms Barrett’s friend confirmed that Mr Maddock did not threaten Lisa or force her to drive him. He does maintain that he and the other passenger asked Ms Barrett to stop the car or slow down, but they had no control over the vehicle or opportunity to get out once the journey was underway.
“The death of Ms Barrett was tragic and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult and upsetting time.”