Norfolk County Council “profoundly sorry” after Diss Morrisons employee road death

Morrisons Supermarket in Diss ANL-151101-231509009

Morrisons Supermarket in Diss ANL-151101-231509009

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A Diss Morrisons employee died in a car accident after Norfolk County Council failed to grit an icy road, an inquest has heard.

Caroline Wooler, 27, and of Thetford, died on the A1066 at Riddlesworth on December 14, 2014.

Johanna Thompson, Assistant coroner for Norfolk, recorded that Miss Wooler died as a result of a road traffic collision.

Tracy Jessop, Assistant Director Highways and Transport, said the authority was “profoundly sorry” for her death.

“Earlier this year (6 February) we visited Caroline’s family to explain the circumstances surrounding this tragedy and to offer our heartfelt condolences,” she said. “We tried to explain what happened from our perspective and apologised for our mistake. We do so again now.

“During 2014 we had reviewed all our routes and this stretch of the A1066 was removed from one run and should have been added to another.

“This was to make sure that all routes could be completed in around three hours, our target time to spread salt before roads freeze. Tragically, a human error meant that this stretch of the road was not being salted for a time.”

“An internal investigation was carried out during January to understand what went wrong and during March, an independent expert review of our road gritting service was completed.

“This was carried out by an experienced chartered engineer and found that ‘overall ... the highways winter service is a good service which is adequately resourced, being provided by a motivated, skilled and trained staff and competent workforce.’

“However, we have concluded that better procedures would have picked up the fact that this short stretch of road was not being gritted.

She added the staff involved were “deeply upset” and said a number of recommendations were offered following an independent expert review in March.