A TEENAGER was killed when a Land Rover driven by his brother left the road and hit a dry stone wall.
An inquest heard Grant Davison, 14, of The Hawthorns, East Boldon, was sitting on inwards facing seats in the back of the Land Rover Defender which was “cut open like a tin can” when it hit the wall.
Driver Liam Davison, 18, and his mother in the front passenger seat, were both injured in the accident on the A66 westbound carriageway near the Bowes Moor Hotel, on the western edge of County Durham, at about 6.30pm on November 25, last year.
David Jeffries, who was driving his car behind the Land Rover, told the inquest at Chester-le-Street Magistrates’ Court: “We were doing about 50mph or 60mph when the Land Rover veered to the right. I thought at first it was going to overtake.
“It travelled along the central reservation for a short distance, then it hit something and was sprung back across the road and down the embankment.”
Collision investigator Pc Michael Baxter, of Durham Constabulary, said the Land Rover hit a “No U-turns” sign.
“This had the effect of sending the Land Rover back across the road at a sharp angle.
“It seems to have taken off when it hit the nearside verge and didn’t touch the ground again until it hit the dry stone wall.
“My calculations suggest the take off speed was 41mph, which accords with the witnesses because travelling along the grassed reservation and hitting the sign would have slowed it.
“The vehicle had been purchased a few days earlier to transport the family and their bikes across to Cumbria.
“It had been maintained in first-class condition by the previous owner.
“The seat in which Liam was sitting was fitted by a previous owner, but the job had been done correctly and I don’t think the seating had any bearing on the outcome.”
Pc Baxter said he had interviewed the driver. “I can be virtually certain he did not fall asleep,” he told the hearing.
“He describes becoming fixated for a second or two on the Land Rover sign in the centre of the steering wheel.
“It was a momentary lack of attention and Liam may well have regained control of the vehicle had he not hit the sign.”
Pc Baxter said Liam Davsion will not be charged with any motoring or criminal offence.
North Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle said: “The only possible verdict is that Grant died as a result of an accident.”
Verdict: Accidental death