Safety calls after schoolboy inquest

Police Officer inspect the Renault after the collision '110406b
Police Officer inspect the Renault after the collision '110406b

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy died after he was hit by a car and flung into the path of a van, an inquest heard.

Alexander Bradley, of West Heslerton, was killed in January last year after colliding with the vehicles near Stones Garage on the A64.

The Norton College pupil was struck by a grey Renault Scenic travelling towards Scarborough before being run over by a white Ford Transit going the opposite way.

He suffered serious head and body injuries and died in Scarborough Hospital.

Coroner Michael Oakley has vowed to write to highways bosses urging major alterations to the A64 at West Heslerton to avoid a similar tragedy.

The inquest, at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, heard Alex had been dropped off at the garage by his father to buy sweets for the bus ride to school.

He added: “I said, ‘watch the road’. We took extreme care to teach Alex about road safety and he was sensible and mature.

“He was also fit and active and played football and crown green bowls three times a week.”

The inquest heard from nursery nurse Joanna Johnson, from Rillington, who was travelling to Filey in her Renault Scenic when it collided with Alex.

Police experts estimated she was travelling around 45mph at the time of the impact.

She said: “I was aware that there was someone stood in the lay-by where the bus pulls in and quite close to the edge of the road.

“As I knew there was someone standing there I slowed down and kept watching. I was right next to him and he just stepped out in front of the car.

“I braked as quickly as I could.

“He did not turn to look at me, he was looking in the direction of Scarborough and I did not think he was going to step out.”

She immediately stopped which was when the van collided with Alex.

The inquest also heard evidence from van driver Keith Render, of East Heslerton.

Mr Render told the court he thought the impact could have been a pot-hole.

He said: “I came up to the garage and caught a glimpse of the car and some girls waving their arms in the air.

“I just saw something quickly in the road, it was a split-second.

“I felt a bump and stopped further down the road out of the way.”

Investigations showed Mr Render’s van had a dirty windscreen and had no water in its washer bottle reservoirs.

He was asked by Mr Oakley if this had impacted on his vision.

Mr Render added: “If it was dirty, I would not have driven it. I could see perfectly okay. I did not know the water bottle was empty.”

Traffic Constable Stephen Kirkbright, who investigated the incident, told the court both vehicles had no defects.

Ann Moate said she was walking her daughter to school with their pet dog on the morning of the tragedy and saw Alex moments before the incident.

She added: “It was just a normal morning, we always had a little joke about our dog because when we first got it Alex used to stroke it, but he would walk past and say ‘no eye contact’ in a jokey way.

“I heard a noise and thought it was lorry that had just passed.

“I stopped to see what was going on, at first the cars were still moving, then I quickly looked again and realised they were not coming any more.”

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Michael Oakley said: “Alex was making a journey that he made very regularly and was walking down the pavement going to cross the A64.

“Coming from the Malton direction was a car being driver by Joanna Johnson, she saw Alex standing on the left-hand side of the road.

“He did not give any indication he was going to do what he did.

“He was looking the other way and she certainly did not think he was going to cross. When she was on top of him he walked into the path of the car.

“She could not avoid any collision.

“Coming the other way was a van driven by Keith Render, who approached the Scenic and saw girls waving in the bus stop.

“For a split second, he saw what he thought was a discolouration or a pot hole.

“Alex has been struck twice and it is very significant that the second impact has caused the injuries that he has died from.

“However, I also need to look at a prevention of similar fatalities in the future and see if any good can come out of such tragic circumstances.

“I will write to the Highways Agency and the Department of Transport asking for consideration be made in reducing speed and increasing the ability of pedestrians to cross the road.”