“Everybody loved him”: Inquest hears student lost control of motorbike

A TALENTED and popular Dorchester student died when he became trapped under a pick-up truck after losing control of his motorcycle, a coroner has heard. Will Musk was travelling to the beach with university friends on his green Kawasaki motorbike on the A286 in West Sussex when he rode around a sweeping left-hand bend in a 40mph speed limit zone. The inquest heard how the 20-year-old student at Chichester University, had just overtaken a car when he approached the bend and was riding above the speed limit.

‘He died doing what he loved’ – tributes to motorbike crash victim Police forensic collision investigator Richard Moller told the hearing at West Sussex Coroner’s court in Crawley that witnesses saw the motorbike leaning hard into the turn before seeing the back wheel lose grip and the bike begin to slide on the bend near Apuldram, West Sussex. One onlooker estimated he was travelling at around 80 mph.

But Mr Musk’s father, Tim Musk, told the coroner: “He was not stupid. He had driven that road at least a few times. He had just been heading back to university.

“He should have known not to overtake near the corner which he apparently did but he was not stupid, he was not going at 80 mph.” Despite the best efforts of police investigators, a fire after the crash which melted the Kawasaki and the front of the Toyota Hilux he collided with, meant it was impossible to examine how fast the bike was travelling at the time of the crash, although all parties agreed the bike was exceeding the speed limit. Greg Moore, who was driving the Toyota pick-up said in a statement to the coroner: “Almost as soon as I saw the bike I saw it drop onto the road.

The rider slid away from the bike. “I started to brake hard but within a couple of seconds the bike hit the truck and the rider was just behind.” Despite the efforts of emergency services and passers-by who stopped to help, Mr Musk, of Southover, near Dorchester, was pronounced dead at the scene on August 5 last year.

Mr Moller told assistant coroner Lisa Milner that although he could not be certain, he believed the bike had lost its grip on the road due to Mr Musk attempting to take the corner too fast. Mr Moller added: “The driving conditions at the time of the collision were fine for careful riding.” Police could not find any evidence Mr Musk was wearing the contact lenses or glasses he needed to drive at the time of the crash.

However, investigators believe the student’s glasses must have been removed by emergency services at the scene and misplaced. Before the coroner gave her verdict, Mr Musk’s family told her: “We have read about the collision and I tend to agree with the investigators. He was not stupid but he might have had a rush of blood to the head.

“All those that saw him that day said there was something wrong that day. We found out that before he went out, he was watching a Star Wars movie. “He was a young lad, maybe he was excited and went out riding.

But, if the truck had not been there he would have just fallen into the hedge, brushed himself off and been annoyed with himself.” In a touching tribute, the family added: “Everybody liked him. You see people say that on TV but it was true – everybody loved him.

“He really was kind, he never got upset and he was easy going. He was good at stuff but never competitive, just easy to get along with. He had just found himself.

“He was a really quiet kid but that first year at university and his gap year was when he really started to enjoy life. Perhaps too much, but he really enjoyed himself.” Concluding the inquest, the assistant coroner said: “He was clearly a lovely young man with a zest for life and he had great experiences with his family and friends.

“I am satisfied he died on August 5 2020 whilst riding his motorbike along the A286. He lost control and collided with the pick-up truck. As a result of this collision, he died of multiple injuries.

“Therefore, it is clear he died as a result of a road traffic collision.”