Woman crashed high-performance Shelby Daytona after drinking for six hours, inquest told
- Credit: Archant
A woman who died after crashing her boyfriend's high-performance sports car was over the legal limit for alcohol, an inquest has heard.
Sophie Hayhow, 46, crashed a replica Shelby Daytona Coupe which veered off the A134 near Long Melford at around 8.45pm on Sunday, July 19, 2020.
Suffolk Coroners' Court heard Ms Hayhow and her date, Stefan Przepiora, had both spent six hours drinking in Sudbury prior to the accident.
Mr Przepiora told the inquest he had first met Ms Hayhow on May 3 after matching on a dating website.
He described their relationship as going "very well" in the first few weeks and said he was "incredibly attracted" to her.
Mr Przepiora picked up Ms Hayhow in his 6.2-litre Shelby Daytona, which had been purchased for £90,000 a few weeks prior, at around 2pm on July 19.
The pair drank wine spritzers with friends at a nearby hotel before moving onto another bar, where they ordered more.
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As Ms Hayhow wanted to get home to sort out paperwork, they left shortly after 8pm, stopping briefly to buy cigarettes and donuts at the Co-op convenience store in Long Melford.
After leaving the store, Mr Przepiora said Ms Hayhow became "excited" and wanted to drive the Shelby Daytona for the first time.
Mr Przepiora said Ms Hayhow seemed "perfectly coherent" and let her take the wheel as he wanted to "make her happy", but warned her of the vehicle's steering and traction.
Neither he nor Ms Hayhow were wearing seatbelts throughout the journey and the car had no airbags.
Ms Hayhow was driving the vehicle for around five minutes before she turned southbound onto the 60mph-limit A134, Mr Przepiora said.
However, she veered off the carriageway and crashed into a tree, at what Mr Przepiora estimated was a speed of between 70 and 80mph, as the road twisted to the right.
Ms Hayhow was pronounced dead at the scene, but Mr Przepiora was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in a critical condition.
He said the incident "all happened incredibly fast".
Pathologist Nathaniel Cary said Ms Hayhow recorded 191mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - more than double the legal limit of 80.
She had suffered a severe head injury, rib fractures and internal damage to her liver.
Sgt Barry Abbott, of Suffolk police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said the force did not believe any unlawful acts had occurred in the incident after officers conducted a "thorough" investigation.
In the hearing, Ms Hayhow's mother Lyn described her daughter as "the light of our lives" and said she was "blossoming" after having recently started a new job.
Ms Hayhow's sister Jessica Burt said she "would light up the room" and had never displayed an interest in racing and sports cars.
Area coroner Jacqueline Devonish adjourned the inquest until Friday, April 16.