Lorry driver's tears at horror crash
By David LennardA LORRY driver broke down in tears as he recalled how a car pulled out in front of his vehicle, resulting in a horrific accident that killed two people.
By David Lennard
A LORRY driver broke down in tears as he recalled how a car pulled out in front of his vehicle, resulting in a horrific accident that killed two people.
Grahame Outterside, 39, of May Road, Lowestoft, had been driving his lorry along the A12 towards Felixstowe port when he was involved in a collision with a Honda 4x4 at the A144 junction at Darsham on December 28 last year.
The driver of the Honda, Luc Moui Hoang, 32, of Fox Meadows, Barking, and front-seat passenger Chi Kwong Hon, 49, of Bramford Lane, Ipswich, were both pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
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Mrs Hoang's two children, a two-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy, who were in car seats in the rear of the Honda were both seriously hurt in the accident.
Lowestoft coroner George Leguen de Lacroix recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest in the town yesterday.
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Mr Outterside told the inquest his journey had been without incident until he came up to the A144 junction at Darsham.
“As I got level with the A144, I became aware of a car approaching the junction and then realised it was not going to stop,” he said.
“I jammed on my brakes, but I could not avoid the impact. It all happened in the blink of an eye.”
Immediately after the collision the Honda was trapped under the lorry and both vehicles ended off the road in a field.
Mr Outterside said he could hear the young children screaming in terror from inside the Honda and it was at that point he broke down in tears.
The rest of his statement was read on his behalf by coroner's officer, Dennis Collinson.
“I feel absolutely terrible about it and I am so sorry, but I do not know what I could have done to avoid the accident,” he said.
Gareth Stobbart, of Coronation Avenue, Hollesley, had been travelling along the A144 immediately behind the Honda car being driven by Mrs Hoang.
Mr Stobbart said the car had been driven in a normal manner until it reached the A144/A12 junction.
“I could not believe my eyes as the car did not slow down, but continued at the same speed across the junction. There was a massive impact and both the lorry and the car were launched in the air,” he added.
A statement was read from Tom Gilson, from Saxmundham, an off-duty London Fire Brigade firefighter, who arrived on the scene shortly after the accident.
Mr Gilson described how he had gone inside the upside-down Honda car to check the pulse of the adults and was also able to bring both children from the crashed vehicle and hand them to other people who had come to help.
Accident investigator Pc Derek Baldry, of Halesworth traffic police, said neither vehicle involved in the crash had any pre-existing defects.
“The visibility was good and all the road and traffic signs warning of the junction were clear. What caused Mrs Hoang to fail to see the signs or impending junction is not known,” he added.
Mr Leguen de Lacroix said Mrs Hoang may have fallen asleep momentarily or had been distracted, but it would never be known for sure.
He is to write to the London Fire Brigade, praising the actions of Mr Gilson. “His careful actions may well have saved the lives of the two children involved in the accident,” he said.