Motorist quizzed after Second World War veteran dies in crash

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Connie Sharples and son Roy Lund (Lancashire Police/PA)

A van driver has been questioned on suspicion of causing the death by dangerous driving of a 94-year-old woman who served in an all-female Second World War air defence unit .

Connie Sharples “ran off” to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) aged 17 and went on to serve in the 93rd Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery.

They helped illuminate German bombers flying over Britain so they could be gunned down.

On Tuesday, she died in her home village of Walton-le-Dale near Preston, Lancashire, as the Fiat Panda she was driving was involved in a collision with a Volkswagen Crafter.

Ms Sharples suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Volkswagen driver, a 37-year-old man from Preston, was arrested on suspicion of driving while over the prescribed drug limit and causing death by dangerous driving.

He has since been released under investigation pending further inquiries, Lancashire Police said.

Paying tribute to his mother, Roy Lund said: “Connie was a very independent woman who at age 17 ran off to join the ATS during WW2.

“She ended up working with an all women’s unit, the 93rd Searchlight outside of London.”

He added: “She really enjoyed dancing, twice a week, and loved to watch Strictly Come Dancing.

“Mum was a parishioner at St Aidan’s Church and loved to walk all her life.

“Her fitness and health were always paramount to her. Amazing lady who was already planning her 100th birthday party.

“She will be sadly missed by all who had the privilege to know her.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the collision in Duddle Lane near the junction with Severn Drive at about 7.25am.

Sergeant Adam Dawson said: “Our thoughts remain with Connie’s family and friends at this incredibly upsetting time.

“We continue to appeal for witnesses and ask that anyone who saw the collision gets in touch with us as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting log number 189 of 14 May.

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