By Matt Hunter
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
THE son of a former speedway champion, who was hit and killed by a van, told his girlfriend just minutes before about how dangerous the road was.
Son of Mark Loram, Rhys, 18, of Debenham Road, Crowfield, was walking along Ipswich Road in the village, near Needham Market, when a Nissan van hit him just after 4.30pm on November 23, 2011.
Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “It was a single carriage-way road with a 30 speed limit and no footpaths. There was no street lighting and at the time of the incident it was either fully dark or nearly dark.
“There was a high hedge up to the road surface and a drainage ditch on the other side – it was not pedestrian friendly – it would have been very difficult to see.”
Police collision officer Pc Andrew Fossey said: “A couple of drivers came across Rhys but did not see him to the last minute but were able to avoid a collision.”
Rhys had sent a text message to his girlfriend Freya which said: “Lorry nearly got the better of me.”
Pc Fossey added: “Rhys was walking with his back to the road and was wearing dark clothing.
“The driver did not see Rhys at all, first he knew was a loud bang and he stopped about 200 metres down the road and went back to see what had happened.”
He said the driver had been travelling within the speed limit and would have had less than a second to react to seeing Rhys.
Dr Dean said Rhys had sustained “very severe head injuries” and skull fractures. He recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Reacting to the verdict, Mark Loram said: “We all heard what was said but we have our own ideas of what happened in that split second. My version of events is a bit different in my head.
“He was a loveable lad. We have all lost a son, a friend, a boyfriend and there’s a lot of kids who have lost a best friend.”
Rhys, who worked as a tyre fitter, had been a keen moto-cross rider and had also tried speedway. The former Debenham High School student had recently travelled to Thailand with friends.
Mark Loram, rode for the Ipswich Witches and had a distinguished 20-year career in speedway including being crowned world champion in 2000.