Mother dies after freak car defrosting accident

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The Independent Online

A mother of two young girls died after a freak accident that saw her trapped under her car while defrosting it, police said today.

Andrea Southern, 43, was crushed under her Fiat Panda parked outside the smart detached home she shared with her husband John and two daughters aged just eight and 12.

The accident happened in Whickham Close, Widnes, Cheshire, at around 7am yesterday.

It is believed Mrs Southern was stuck for 30 minutes before being spotted by a neighbour who called an ambulance.

She was taken to Whiston Hospital with serious injuries but died after 4.30pm.

Today, Mr Southern was too upset to talk and was being comforted by family and friends.

A short statement issued through Cheshire Police said simply: "Her family are devastated at the loss of a loving wife and mother."

Mrs Southern's black Fiat Panda was parked on the sloping driveway in front of the house when it inexplicably rolled on to her.

The hatchback has been removed for examination that should shed light on precisely what happened.

Joiner Ryan Gregson, 21, who lives across the road, witnessed paramedics battling to save Mrs Southern.

He said: "It's an utter tragedy.

"She was a lovely woman, quite quiet and they had two young daughters.

"I woke up early yesterday to blue flashing lights in my room shortly before 7am.

"At first I didn't see much because the firemen were jacking up the car so they could get her out.

"They were working quickly and got her out fast.

"Then the paramedics were doing CPR on her while she was on the floor.

"They put her on a stretcher with an oxygen mask.

"We've heard she was de-icing her car and somehow something's happened and it's rolled on to her, somehow crushing her.

"One of the wheels had apparently gone across her chest."

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "Inquiries suggest she was defrosting her car when it is thought to have started and rolled backwards, dragging her under the front wheels.

"Police believe she was trapped for around half an hour before her neighbour found her.

"Police are appealing to anyone who was in the Whickham Close area of Widnes yesterday morning between around 6.15am and 7am to make contact with the officer investigating the incident, even if you feel you have seen nothing of relevance.

"This may help police piece together the sequence of events resulting in the woman's tragic death."