Death crash victim lost control of car

Oxford County Hall
Oxford County Hall

The death of a retired Long Compton driver who lost 
control of his car on a bend was accidental, an inquest heard this week.

Coroner Darren Salter recorded the verdict on Tuesday at an inquest into the death of Roger Jones, 66, of Butlers Close.

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Jones died on Saturday, September 14, 2013 when his Peugeot 306 collided with two trees on the A3400 between Little Compton and Chipping Norton.

Eye witness evidence by David Matthews read out in court described how at about 11am Mr Jones was travelling towards him, crossing the two solid white lines onto his side of the road, then back again.

The car then left the road and travelled a short distance on a grass verge before colliding with the trees.

Mr Matthews said: “The driver was turning the steering wheel in a way it appeared the vehicle was out of control.”

He said it had been raining but had recently stopped and visibility was good.

Mr Jones, who died almost instantly of multiple injuries, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

There was no evidence Mr Jones, who had Type 2 diabetes which was poorly controlled, had lost consciousness because of hyperglycaemia whilst driving and the post mortem did not show any alcohol or drugs in his blood.

A vehicle examination and collision investigation concluded one of Mr Jones’s tyres had a slow puncture and another had insufficient tread depth.

Giving evidence, collision investigator Andrew Evans said it was not possible to determine whether this had caused the collision but that it could have either contributed to Mr Jones losing control of the car, or made it more difficult to regain control.

Mr Evans also said: “There was no suggestion he was wearing a seatbelt.”

Concluding, Mr Salter said it was not possible to say if the outcome would have been different had Mr Jones been wearing the seatbelt and added the reason for the collision was most likely a combination of speed travelling around the bend, wet road surface and a partly inflated rear tyre.

Mr Salter said: “Mr Jones lost control of his car on a bend of the A3400, causing his car to leave the road and collide with trees. There were no other vehicles involved so my conclusion is accidental death.”

Staff and customers at Mr Jones’s local pub, The Red Lion in Long Compton, were shocked at the verdict. Supervisor Lesca MacGregor said: “He was one of our regulars and was a well-known character.

“We’re all very shocked and are finding it very difficult to get to grips with him losing control of the car, with him having been a professional driver.”

She said Mr Jones, who was affectionately known as ‘Dodge’ and ‘Rodge’, was always very involved with everything happening at the pub.

“He would clear the glasses or change a lightbulb and was always very helpful.

“He was really a part of the pub and the whole community,” she said.

Mr Jones often played pool at the pub and was also a part of the British Legion and the local bowls club.

Mrs MacGregor said: “He is sorely missed by everyone, including the pub dog, the chocolate labrador Cocoa, who he shared a birthday with. He would always give her a birthday present.”