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Deer in the road may have caused Hoxne crash that claimed the life of farm worker Will Smith, 20

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 December 2014

Eye Road, Hoxne, near Diss - the scene of the crash

Eye Road, Hoxne, near Diss - the scene of the crash


A friend and son who “would do anything for anyone” died at the scene of a tragic crash in Hoxne.

Will Smith, 20, a farm worker from Mellis, near Eye, was travelling along High Road, in July, when his car left the road and collided with a tree.

At an inquest, held in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death, adding that a deer in the road may have caused Mr Smith to lose control of the car.

Dr Dean said: “We hear that he was someone with exceptional driving skills. Because there were road closures on the route he would have normally taken, he was forced to take a different route home. Many people will miss Will. His personality and his manner were exemplary.” The inquest heard that Mr Smith was on his way home from The Swan pub, in Hoxne, before the accident happened at around 1am, on July 22.

Tests showed that Mr Smith had no drugs in his system and was significantly within the legal limit for blood alcohol levels. Friends described him leaving the pub “happy” and sober and no one reported anything different or dangerous in how he drove out of the car park.

A statement from Mr Smith’s friend, Nicholas Hills, read: “He was someone with a heart of gold who would do anything for anyone.”

A report into the crash by Suffolk Police reported no faults with the Ford Ranger pick-up Mr Smith was driving or with the road surface.

Reading from a report from Will’s father, Simon Smith, Dr Dean said: “He excelled at his driving and had a lot of experience driving tractors. He was a model driver.”

The man who discovered the crash, who lived nearby, said deer are a common sight on the roads in the area.

Giving his verdict, Dr Dean said: “We get a picture of someone who was an exemplarily driver, and a careful driver. There was nothing to suggest he was being anything other than a careful driver on that tragic night. He may have found himself in a position that there was a large animal [deer] in the road.”

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The sight of caravans at Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds, prompted concerns that an encampment of travellers who left last week had returned.

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