A MOTHER of four was crushed to death under the wheels of a lorry as she arrived for work at a Horwich recycling site, an inquest heard.
Susan Brooks, who was employed as a cleaner at Armstrongs Environmental Services Ltd, was hit by the lorry as she crossed a depot road at the Chorley New Road premises on November 14 last year.
A jury at Bolton Coroners’ Court heard how Mrs Brooks, who had been widowed three years earlier, arrived for work at 8.15am, parking her van in the staff car park.
The court was shown CCTV in which 56-year-old Mrs Brooks was seen putting on her regulation high-visibility jacket and hard hat and walking towards the firm’s weigh station.
Several Armstrongs drivers gave evidence that designated walkways were marked out with yellow paint, but the lines have worn off or been partially covered with mud and debris.
The CCTV footage showed Mrs Brooks not using the walkways and, when she got to the end of the road, crossed in front of a lorry which had stopped at a T-junction.
Driver Stephen Prince told police he had just picked up a container from the site for delivery in Failsworth and had left the vehicle at the junction while he went into the weighbridge office to collect paperwork.
He said in court that when he returned to the lorry he had a brief chat with a colleague out of his cab window, checked his mirrors and then moved off.
He said he heard a thud as a hard hat hit the floor and spotted a piece of orange fabric.
At first he thought another member of staff had left their equipment on the side of his lorry.
“Then I heard someone shout out ‘it’s Sue, it’s Sue’,” he said.
“It is something that is going to be imprinted on my brain for the rest of my life.”
Drivers covered Mrs Brooks, a cousin of the managing director John Wallace, with jackets to keep her warm until paramedics arrived.
“She was lucid, she was talking to us,” said Mr Prince.
But the inquest heard that Mrs Brooks, of Avonhead Close, Horwich, had suffered crush injuries to her chest.
Her heart and breathing stopped in the ambulance on the way to hospital, where doctors could not save her.
The inquest continues.