The father of a “beautiful” 18-year-old student who died when she was struck by a car had asked for traffic calming measures last year – but was told there needed to be a fatality before anything could be done.
Pretty Kate Whalley was hit by a black Ford Fiesta ST after getting off the bus and was in sight of her home when tragedy hit at about 4.40pm on Thursday.
Kate, from Poole-in-Wharfedale, West Yorks., had just sat her penultimate A-level exam and was about to sit the last one the next day.
The aspiring student suffered unsurvivable head injuries but was kept alive at Leeds General Infirmary for around 30 hours – until the early hours on Saturday – to allow doctors time to organise recipients for her organs.
Her devastated family has paid tribute as nine of her organs were taken to save the lives of others.
Her father Michael, 54, said Kate had just caught a bus home – after sitting her exam at Harrogate Grammar School – when she was struck by the car on a blind bend on the busy A660 Leeds Road, which has a 40mph speed limit.
She was just 400 steps away from her front door.
He said: “I attended a council meeting with Poole-in-Wharfedale Parish Council in October last year to raise concerns about the speed of traffic running through our village.
“At the time of the meeting there had been a couple of cats and a deer killed on that stretch of road. There had also been a couple of car accidents.
“It is a dangerous stretch of road, you often see drivers speeding into the sharp bend.
“We had been told that there was nothing they could do in terms of traffic calming because there needed to be a fatality for the council to do so.
“We had asked if we could put signs up but nothing came of it.
“I am absolutely cut to ribbons that the fatality is my only daughter.
“Why is it the case that there needs to be a disaster to change regulations?”
Kate’s family said she was confident she would have achieved the two A grades and one B she needed after being offered a place to study psychology at Newcastle University in September.
My Whalley told how police took him and Kate’s stepmother, Janie, to Leeds General Infirmary to be with Kate on Thursday.
He said: “After a while the medics came and told us of the horrendous injuries to her head and it was so bad that she could no longer survive.
“Kate had a donor card so we granted the doctors her wishes.
“But they had to keep her alive so her organs would be of use and it was going to be quite a while for them to get the donors to be matched.”
Mr Whalley said his daughter’s life support was switched off just after 1am on Saturday and she died two hours later.
He said she donated nine organs, including her heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.
Mr Whalley, who works as a self-employed chartered surveyor, said: “I have just been informed that her two kidneys have been given and that the recipients are doing well.
“I think it’s wonderful. It just shows the spirit and zest for life that Kate had that she wanted to give life to others.
“It expresses the selfless character she was and what a beautiful young woman she was.
“She had the most beautiful smile.
“She was an intelligent, confident, beautiful young woman in every way.
“As a father I couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful girl and we were so very close.
“She had a boyfriend called Tom and every time they were together they just laughed.
“She was full of life with all her future ahead of her and she was just snatched away.”
Miss Whalley’s step mother, Janie, said: “Kate really was a lovely, amazing girl. The first thing she did every morning was give you a hug.”
He said: “I said to her ‘get a taxi because you have got that maths exam tomorrow.’ By getting a taxi back she would haven an hour more for study.
“She said ‘no, it’s alright’ and I have got a return bus ticket.’
“She had just had her last psychology exam on the Thursday. On the Friday she had her final maths exam.
“She would have been finished and then, hopefully, she would have gone to Newcastle University.”
Mr Whalley said he was worried when his daughter had not returned home by 5.30pm.
He said: “I was concerned so I rang her mobile and there was no answer.
“There was a knock at the door and I knew something was wrong and it didn’t surprise me that it was a policeman.
“He told me she had been severely injured and taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary.”
Kate also leaves mother, Diane Jordan, and step father, Gary Jordan, half-brothers Paul and Daniel Faithfull, half-sisters Holly and Jessica McGrellis and Kate’s boyfriend Tom Underwood.
West Yorkshire Police said officers from the force’s major collision enquiry team are continuing enquiries following the tragedy.
The driver of the Fiesta, a 22-year-old man, from Harrogate, was arrested and released pending further enquiries.
Sergeant Mathew Tunney said: “We are still keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision or who saw the black Ford Fiesta ST at any point on its journey to the scene of the collision.”