Camper van driver died instantly after ploughing into back of lorry on A30, inquest hears

A camper van driver died instantly after driving into the back of a stationary lorry which had already been involved in a minor collision, an inquest has heard. The HGV vehicle, which was carrying a trailer, had come to a stop along the A30 A30 between Exeter and Honiton, near the Daisymount turning, after colliding with a car it had been overtaking, Devon Live reports . With no hard shoulder or layby, the lorry had stopped on the nearside carriage with the car in front of it, and had put its hazard lights on.

Eyewitnesses who had been driving on the road at the time reported they had not realised the lorry was stationary at first but had managed to avoid it. Roger Aitken, 36, who had been driving a VW campervan, then continued driving in the same lane as the lorry before ploughing into the back of it. The inquest heard he died instantaneously following the collision on May 30, 2019.

Mr Aitken, a business development director from Basingstoke, sustained multiple injuries.

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Kenneth Bye, the driver of the lorry, told in a statement how he collided with an Audi A3 after indicating to move back into the near side lane having overtaken it. Mr Bye described it as a gradual maneuver and said it was as if the driver had "accelerated forward". Following the crash, he said there was no layby, so he stopped on the road and left his vehicle to check on the other driver, having put his hazard lights on.

Soon after, he heard a 'huge crash'. Mr Bye said: "From the noise of the impact I knew the second collision was serious. Initially I could not bring myself to look."

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Alternatively, follow us on Twitter - @BathLive and @SomersetLive . In a statement, the driver of the Audi, Lynn Gittoes, said she had been driving back from working in Exeter and was on her way to Otter Nurseries when the collision occurred between her and the lorry. She said she was not aware of how it had happened but after it recalled the lorry driver saying, 'I thought I had passed you.'

She also recalled hearing an 'almighty bang' when the fatal collision then occurred. Statements were also heard from other drivers who reported not being able to recall if the lorries hazard lights were flashing, and not realising at first the lorry was stationary. One witness said: "The camper van drove directly into the rear of the lorry.

The driver must have been totally unaware it was stationary as it had more than enough room." Dashcam footage confirmed that the hazard lights had been activated. A forensic collision investigation confirmed there were no mechanical defects with any of the vehicles or any other reason to explain why Mr Aitken had not overtaken the lorry.

The report concluded: "For reasons unknown he failed to recognise the HGV was stationary, even though the hazard lights were activated."

Recording a conclusion of road traffic collision, coroner Philip Spinney said: "He sustained unsurvivable injuries."

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