A devoted couple from Tipton died in a crash after the car they were in veered out of control on a bend, an inquest heard today.
John and Betty Hodgkiss were killed when their Ford Mondeo drifted across onto the wrong side of the road and collided with an Audi travelling in the opposite direction.
The couple were found with their hands clasped together inside their badly damaged car moments after the tragedy on the A458 Bridgnorth to Stourbridge road at Wootton, Six Ashes, in June.
An inquest in Bridgnorth today heard evidence suggested Mr Hodgkiss, aged 82, had lost control of the car as he negotiated a curve, causing the car to move over into the opposite lane.
Mr Hodgkiss, a retired bus driver and former army corporal, died at the scene of the accident.
His 79-year-old wife was airlifted to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she died the following evening.
The couple, who had been married for 52 years, were travelling from their home in Bilston Road out to their favourite pub near Bridgnorth for a meal when their car crashed.
Son David Hodgkiss told the inquest in Bridgnorth today: “It was just a a tragic accident.
“It has devastated my family. We feel sorry for the lady who was involved in the accident.”
In a written statement, the driver of the Audi, Mrs Samantha Bowater, from Bridgnorth, said there was nothing she could do to avoid the collision.
“I am so sorry for what happened that day. Although I feel there was nothing else I could possibly do to stop the crash,” her statement said.
The inquest heard from accident investigator, Pc Neil Williams, who said there could have been a number of reasons why Mr Hodgkiss failed to negotiate the curve, including possible momentary lack of attention, misjudgement or the speed of the vehicle.
But he said there was not enough evidence to say for certain which of these may have been a factor.
Recording a verdict of accidental death on the couple, coroner Mr John Ellery said “The evidence is clear that this was a tragic accident.”
Following the tragedy, David, from the Woodside estate in Dudley, revealed the couple were found holding hands inside the car.
The pair would often visit The River and Rail Country Inn, in Hampton Loade, near Bridgnorth.
Relatives described them as a ‘brilliant’ couple who were friendly and sociable with everyone they met.