'Very careful' driver died aged 24 after tragic crash near Chesterfield

Kirstie Louise Kirk. Picture submitted.
Kirstie Louise Kirk. Picture submitted.

A young woman who was described as a ‘very safe and careful driver’ died after a crash on a main road near Chesterfield.

Twenty-four-year-old Kirstie Louise Kirk passed away in hospital on December 29 last year – two days after the tragic collision on the A617 at Doe Lea.

Tributes left at the scene of the crash in January.

Tributes left at the scene of the crash in January.

An inquest into Ms Kirk’s death was held at Chesterfield coroners’ court on Monday – and her loved ones attended wearing t-shirts bearing her image.

Giving evidence, DC Lauren Siddall, of Derbyshire Constabulary, said Mark Fitzgerald told police he was driving his Mitsubishi Warrior along the A617 at Doe Lea – where the speed limit is 40mph – at around 6.15am on December 27 last year.

Mr Fitzgerald said he was travelling at between 35 and 40mph with his headlights on when he approached the junction with Mansfield Road and Ms Kirk’s Citroen DS3 appeared from his left and into his path.

DC Siddall told the court: “It’s a give way junction. For whatever reason, Kirstie didn’t give way at the junction. Kirstie is the only person who can know the reason for that.”

Mr Fitzgerald stated that he applied his brakes but was unable to avoid colliding with Ms Kirk’s car.

Police investigations revealed Mr Fitzgerald’s car was travelling at 33mph at the point of impact.

Shop assistant Ms Kirk, of East Street, Doe Lea – who was driving to work at the time of the crash – was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham with serious injuries but sadly died two days later.

The inquest heard that neither Mr Fitzgerald nor Ms Kirk had any alcohol or drugs in their system.

They weren’t using their mobile phones at the time of the crash and their cars did not have any defects.

Coroner Peter Nieto concluded that Ms Kirk died as a result of a road traffic collision.

He said: “Prior to the collision, she didn’t stop at the give way point.

“The Mitsubishi would have been within her field of vision had she stoped and checked.

“We can’t be sure of the reasons why she didn’t stop.

“Perhaps she didn't expect to see another vehicle on the road at that time.”

Mr Nieto added that nobody witnessed the crash.

In a statement read out during the inquest, Ms Kirk’s partner Nathan Adams said she was a ‘very safe and careful driver’.

Her father Mick Cooper voiced concern about people speeding along the A617 at Doe Lea – but Mr Nieto said that Mr Fitzgerald, on the balance of probabilities, was driving within the speed limit.

After Ms Kirk passed away, her family paid tribute to her and described her as a ‘bright, beautiful and intelligent young woman who was loved by so many’

Kirstie Louise Kirk passes away aged 24