Killed Hampshire Deliveroo driver was ‘distracted by his smartphone’

A DELIVEROO driver who died after colliding with a lorry was ‘distracted by his smartphone’, an inquest has heard. Marcos Vinicius Macedo Martins was driving his 2016 Honda moped less than 1,000 metres from his home when he collided with the back of a stationary lorry on Churchill Way, Basingstoke on May 19. The lorry driver had brought his 2009 S-series Scania HGV to a standstill, with the hazard lights on, after struggling to find the address he was delivering to.

Just three seconds later, Marcos exited Victory roundabout and drove into the back of the grey lorry. Portsmouth Coroners’ Court heard that the lorry should nonetheless have been perfectly visible and should not have caused any difficulties for passing vehicles. PC Andrew Daw, a forensic collision investigator, said: “The size of the vehicle itself provided ample visibility.

“There is no forensic evidence that Mr Martins broke, and this raises the question of why he did not see, or recognise the hazard ahead of him. “It is a section of road where you would not expect to meet a parked vehicle, but you have to make allowances for unexpected events. He has for reasons unknown failed to appreciate the hazard in front of him and taken no action to avoid a collision.”

He continued: “It may be that Mr Martins was distracted by something on the roadside, but there is nothing on the HGV CCTV and it is more likely that a distraction on the moped was a contributory factor. “We do not know whether he was using the device, but the smartphone was positioned in such a way that it could be used. In my opinion, the presence of the smartphone suggests that Mr Martins was distracted by this device.”

The investigation thoroughly considered other factors such as sunlight glare and minor defects to the moped, but concluded that despite being a very sunny day, conditions were very good and did not contribute to the incident. It also noted that, while Marco – who was from Brazil – had experience driving motorcycles abroad and had passed his CBT test, he was “inexperienced of driving this type of vehicle in the UK” and did not yet hold a full drivers’ license. The 34-year-old had come to live in Basingstoke with his wife Elania Da Silva Santos and their daughter, Alice, in August 2019, and worked as a delivery driver for multiple companies.

Elania said that at around 5.20pm, he left the house on another delivery. However, just 10 minutes later, he collided with the stationary HGV. Elania received a call from Marcos’ niece at 5.49pm to say he had been in an accident.

“The police told us we couldn’t get close because Marcos’ condition was critical,” she said in a statement read in court. “I think he was dead then.” She added: “Marcos was healthy.

He played football, and went to the gym. He didn’t drink alcohol, smoke, or take any drugs, medical or recreational.” Marcos was attended to by various emergency services, including the Helicopter Emergency Medical Team.

Due to “a very severe head injury”, he was transferred to Southampton hospital which was the nearest neurology department but, sadly, at 12:24am on May 21 he passed away. A post-mortem found the cause of death to be “a traumatic head injury and multiple injuries as a result of a road traffic collision”. Summarising the case, senior coroner Mr Christopher Wilkinson noted that the HGV’s position was “permissible”, adding: “In any normal circumstance, it would be expected that someone would be aware of the vehicle and would have been able to take evasive action.

“The only explanation for that can be that in those last few seconds Mr Martins was somehow distracted. “My view is that it is more likely than not that, having left his home shortly before, he could well have been looking to see and plan his route for the delivery he was making.” The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

A moving procession in tribute to the father-of-one was carried out by fellow delivery drivers shortly after his death.

The group rode from the Skyline Plaza to Churchill Way in the memory of their friend and colleague.