Fatal Norfolk collision caused by 'greeting'

Sam EmanuelA motorbike rider was killed after 'greeting' his lorry-driving friend by swerving from side to side across the road, an inquest has heard.Sam Emanuel

A motorbike rider was killed after 'greeting' his lorry-driving friend by swerving from side to side across the road, an inquest has heard.

David Crotch, 53, from Panxworth, died on August 13 last year on Salhouse Road, in Panxworth, after his scooter collided with a 32-tonne lorry being driven from Rackheath by his friend, Stephen Lincoln.

At the inquest into Mr Crotch's death yesterday, Mr Lincoln told the court that although his lorry was in the wrong carriageway when he hit the scooter rider, this was in a bid to avoid him, and that he had slammed on the brakes as soon as he could.

He said that the pair had greeted each other in a similar way about a dozen times in the past, with Mr Crotch passing the lorry's offside on his scooter.

However, he said that Mr Crotch had never gone past his nearside before and he had never had to brake to avoid him.

PC Wendy Biddle confirmed in her evidence that Mr Lincoln's account was 'plausible', and said that the time Mr Lincoln would have taken to acknowledge the hazard, slow down, change lanes and apply emergency braking in his Volvo FM skip loader would have been 4.7 seconds.

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The time it would have taken for Mr Crotch to change lanes twice, brake and then slide to impact would have been between 4.5 and 5.5 seconds.

Coroner William Armstrong said: 'Only two people know exactly what happened on that particular day, and one of them is not hear to tell the tale,' and recorded a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic collision.

After the inquest, Mr Crotch's devastated family told what a 'good husband and loving father' the keen country sportsman had been.

A lorry driver himself, he had been married to his wife Alison for 26 years, although they had been together for 36 years, and the couple had three children, Tommy, Tracy and Emma.

Sadly, they lost Emma to cystic fibrosis in July 2002, and Mrs Crotch, who is a housewife, says she now visits her husband's grave alongside her daughter's.

She said: 'On the day of the accident, David left home as usual at 6am, and woke me with a cup of tea just before he left, as he always did.

'He was a lovely husband and we all miss him ever so much. Out of work he was a very keen sportsman and he used to go shooting every weekend and help our son Tommy train Spaniels for field trials.

'After his family, he lived for the outdoor life, and when he wasn't shooting or dog training he was beach fishing or breeding pigeons and racing them.'