Sat nav leads to car death of four-year-old

Four-year-old Ariana Bardhaj, from Blackpool, who died during a crash in Bolton
Four-year-old Ariana Bardhaj, from Blackpool, who died during a crash in Bolton
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A FOUR-year-old girl died in an horrific car smash after a sat nav wrongly told her parents to turn right at an accident blackspot. Sat nav leads to car death of four-year-old girl

Ariana Bardhaj, from Blackpool, died after an Audi A5 travelling at 45 mph hit her parents’ car on the A6 at the junction with Station Road, Blackrod, in September last year, Bolton Coroner’s Court heard.

It was the sixth death on or close to the junction since 2005.

Fernando and Trisha Bardhaj, were driving to an address in Manchester Road, Blackrod, having earlier visited Chorley, at around 2.30pm on September 11 last year.

Learner driver Mr Bardhaj, 30, had just taken the wheel from his wife, after they had stopped for an ice cream. Their two children, Ariana and little brother Xhemil, were in the back of the white Vauxhall Astra, during the collision.

The speed limit on the road is 60mph.

There is no right turn from the southbound A6 onto Station Road and the inquest heard there are clear signs at the traffic lights and before the junction.

But Mr and Mrs Bardhaj told police they did not see signs and only found out about them later.

The inquest heard neither driver saw each other and that David Wignall, who was behind the wheel of his new Audi car, did not even have time to brake.

The car crashed into the back passenger door and the court was told Ariana took the full force of the impact.

Her 18-month-old brother and Mrs Bardhaj were also injured, but Ariana died in Royal Bolton Hospital three hours after the accident.

After the inquest, Mrs Bardhaj, who has 15 years’ driving experience and had been teaching her husband to drive, said: “Had it been a reasonable speed limit then she may have survived.”

Sgt Jeff Hollick told the inquest there was clear evidence a criminal offence had been committed by Mr Bardhaj but the Crown Prosecution Service had decided it was not in the public interest to prosecute.

He added that there was no evidence to suggest the driver of the other car had done anything wrong.

The court also heard that the sat nav used has a warning on it, which advises users they must follow road restrictions.

Sgt Gary Lyle said he had returned to the scene with a similar satellite navigation system and that it did advise him to turn right.

But he added more up-to-date software, which can be downloaded on to the navigation systems, would not give the same directions.

Assistant Deputy Coroner Peter Watson said: “Clearly all drivers must conform to road signage.

“They can’t depend on a sat nav system.”

And recording a narrative verdict, he added: “Ariana Bardhaj died from a severe head and spinal injury sustained while she was a passenger in a motor vehicle involved in a road traffic collision.”

Mrs Bardhaj, 32, paid tribute to her beloved daughter, adding: “She was a very beautiful and special little girl who was always smiling.

“She loved everything pink and sparkly, she was a little princess.

“She loved her little brother and her big brother, and everyone who met her was touched by her in some way.

“We miss her so much.”

She added: “We would also like to thank all the staff that treated Ariana at Royal Bolton Hospital.

“They did all they could and we really appreciate everything they did.”