Alcohol could be cause of rider's death
TEENAGE motorcycle victim Karl Waterman died instantly of multiple injuries in a collision with a tractor and trailer.The 18-year-old had been drinking before the accident, on the Hopton to Knettishall Heath road, half a mile from his father's home on Sunday September 8.
TEENAGE motorcycle victim Karl Waterman died instantly of multiple injuries in a collision with a tractor and trailer.
The 18-year-old had been drinking before the accident, on the Hopton to Knettishall Heath road, half a mile from his father's home on Sunday September 8.
Dr Peter Dean who headed the inquest yesterday at Shire Hall, Bury St Edmunds, recorded a verdict of accidental death.
He offered his condolences to the family saying the way in which the teenager had ridden the motorcycle did not give cause for concern.
But added the alcohol level in the Mr Waterman's blood – 108 mgs in 100 ml of blood (the legal limit is 80mg) – could have impaired his ability to react to the set of circumstances which presented itself to him on the narrow country road.
After the inquest his devastated family paid tribute to Mr Waterman who was about to start studying conveyancing at West Suffolk College in Bury, sponsored by Needham-based civil engineering firm Breheny's.
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His grandmother Penelope Wells, from Stowmarket, said: "He had his whole life ahead of him. He had just got a place in college. He was a very talented young man, very intelligent. He was a very capable motorcyclist.
"I am not looking to blame anyone but I just think he didn't have the space. A few days later I saw a tractor and trailer go by on the road and it is quite frightening. It is such a narrow road. There was no where for him to go."
His sister Sophie, 18, added: "Karl was always laughing. He would never worry about anything. He was very laid back and very bright."
The accident happened just after 5 pm when the motorcycle ridden by Norwich born Mr Waterman, a site engineer, collided with a tractor and an 8 ft wide trailer carrying bales of straw. The impact tore the motorbike apart causing it to break in three pieces.
Witnesses said the former Stowupland High School pupil was travelling safely and at no more than 30 mph in a 60 mph limit before colliding with the tractor after negotiating a bend.
Paramedics from the East Anglian Air Ambulance and an ambulance crew were called to the scene but were unable to save the teenager.
PC Andrew Garden, the investigating officer, said the motorcycle was not travelling at excessive speed but heavy front braking destabilised the motorcycle and causing it to slide along the road towards the agricultural vehicle. The court heard the driver Ian Moxon took all the action he could to prevent the tragedy.
He said the consumption of alcohol was not the cause of the crash but "was likely to have hindered his ability to regain control of the vehicle," saying alcohol slows down reaction time and affects co-ordination and judgement.
At the inquest Dr Dean told the family: "I offer my condolences for the loss of Karl in these very, very sad circumstances."