Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
North Curry crash victim was driving at 80mph, inquest heard
4:00pm Friday 21st September 2012 in Taunton
A YOUNG man who died in a crash in North Curry was driving at high speed when the incident happened, an inquest has heard.
Evidence suggests that Tom Haseley, 21, from Stoke St Gregory, was travelling at nearly 80mph when his Renault Clio was in collision with a Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 on January 8 in Windmill Hill.
The Toyota driver, Jolyon Withams, of Burrowbridge, was more than one-and-a-half times over the drink drive limit, but collision investigators say that did not contribute to the incident.
Mr Withams was driving towards North Curry on his way home at about 7.30pm when he says he saw two sets of headlights approaching side by side. The driver of the alleged other vehicle has never come forward.
He said: “I slowed down to avoid a crash, but it didn’t help and the next thing I remember is being out of the vehicle.
“I don’t think the alcohol affected my driving.”
Mr Withams had 122mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood when he was tested some hours after the crash and was banned from driving after appearing at Exeter Magistrates Court on July 6 charged with drink-driving.
Collision investigator PC Philip Howells found no visible defects on either car or on the road and reported that weather, visibility and traffic were all fine.
He said: “The Clio’s speedometer was stuck on 78mph and it is highly likely that the car was travelling at or close to that speed when the collision happened.
“There was nothing to suggest that the driver of the Toyota contributed to the collision, but he should not have been driving any vehicle with that level of alcohol in his blood.”
Mr Haseley, a keen rugby player and former student at Heathfield Community School and Harper Adams University, is survived by parents Mary and Keith and brothers Joe, Harry and George.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said: “The evidence clearly points to the fact that Tom Haseley’s speed was in the region of 80mph and it is not so easy to control a vehicle at that speed.
“This was a tragic accident. He was a young man with his whole life ahead of him.”