Witnesses to a fatal crash in which three died blamed a 21-year-old driver, who also died in the collision.
The inquest into the deaths of Marcus Shaw, 21, Sean Glover, 19, and David Schofield, 70, concluded the three died “due to a road traffic collision.”
But at Spilsby Coroner’s Court, many pointed the finger at Marcus, a young McDonald’s catering assistant, who overtook on a bend and collided with an oncoming vehicle.
Marcus, of Gold Court, Mablethorpe, the driver of a Renault Clio, and his passenger, Sean Glover, also of Gold Court, along with David Schofield all died at the scene of the collision last year.
The court heard that six friends who worked at McDonalds in Ingoldmells were on their way to a leaving do for a cafe manager when the accident happened on the A52 near Hogsthorpe around 7pm on Thursday September 11.
Anne Sophie Winters, the girlfriend of Sean Glover, said the four lads went in the Renault Clio while she went with friend Amber Price in her car.
Anne said Marcus had been driving “close behind” her and when they came towards a sweeping right bend, she was doing 65mph and Marcus overtook her, but there was a vehicle coming around the corner, so she braked.
“He swerved quite fast in front of me, he hit the grass verge. From there, he lost control of the car. He veered to the opposite side of the road. They collided more or less head on. The Clio tipped over on to its roof. The other vehicle came to rest on the verge,” she said.
Amber Rose Price, who was Anne’s passenger, said “Marcus was doing at least 70mph.”
“He was trying to get back to the right side of the road. But he couldn’t get back in time,” she said. After the impact, a friend James sat in the back of the Clio was injured , as was her boyfriend Jack Johnson.
Mr Jonhson said of Marcus’s driving: ”Sometimes he’s fine, sometimes he drives too fast and drives too close.”
Among the motorists who gave evidence, van driver Daniel Gill, who was following the Astra driven by Schofield, said he saw the Clio overtake and move back to its own side before it hit the Astra.
“The Clio driver is wholly to blame for the accident,” said his statement.
Retired lorry driver, Gordon Sharples, who also followed the Astra, agreed its driver was not to blame and couldn’t have done anything to avoid the accident.
Janet Sharples said she was travelling with her husband Gordon and saw “a car flew back into the air.”
When they stopped the young girls were “hysterical and screaming.”
“I remember one of the girls saying ‘it wasn’t your fault’ to the Astra driver,” continued her statement.
Market trader Keith Bacon said he saw the Clio “coming around the bend like a bat out of hell” and was “easily doing 60mph.”
“I felt sorry for the man in the Astra. he didn’t stand a chance,” he said.
Van driver Ross Parker, who was three vehicles behind the Astra, said he saw the Clio overtake after approaching the bend at speed.
He said he saw the Clio rear end ‘fish-tailing’ and then it hit the Astra and “flipped up into the air.”
Accident investigators, the inquest also heard, that the force of the crash compressed the wheelbase of the car 70cm. A reconstruction added it was not safe to overtake at 60mph due to the length of road needed for it. But it was not possible to say how fast the Clio had driven.
Deputy Coroner Richard Marshall said the verdict was almost self-evident.
“At some point Mr Shaw decided to overtake Sophie Winter’s Corsa. It wasn’t a particularly powerful car. They would do 60mph. On completing the manoeuvre he has to pull in sharply. A combination of speed, steering and breaking caused loss of control, which led to fishtailing and going into the path of the vehicle going the other direction. Loading a car with up to four people marked increase in weight, by a third, giving a marked change in its ability to gain speed. At 60mph acceleration wont be swift,” he said.
Branding the crash “a tragic accident”, Mr Marshall said after driving behind Miss Winter, he decided at a bend to overtake, but tragically coming in the opposite direction was Mr Schofield.
“For whatever reason, Mr Shaw did not successfully complete the overtaking manoeuvre. Having got passed Miss Winter, he had to pull in sharply having seen the Astra. He lost control and fishtailed. The vehicle went on the opposite carriageway, colliding with Mr Schofield’s car and flipped over on to its roof.”
“Tragically, Mr Schofield, Mr Shaw and his front seat passenger (Sean Glover) all lost their lives, dying at the scene.
“An inquest is not a forum in which to apportion blame. The three deaths were due to a road traffic collision,” he said.