The “catastrophic” final moments of a popular Whitby teenager’s life were recalled at an inquest this week.
The inquest heard Daniel, of Westbourne Road, had been driving back towards Whitby at speeds of up to 79mph in his Seat Leon when he ended up on the wrong side of the road.
He hit a Vauxhall Corsa being driven by Melanie Lane Ryan who was on her way to a sewing class in Guisborough.
She suffered a broken ankle, shin, leg, kneecap, a broken neck and sternum and 10 broken ribs.
A doctor prohibited her from attending the inquest due to the severity of the injuries she sustained in the accident, but a statement from her was read out in court.
She said: “It happened in a split second. I saw the lights of a vehicle driving straight towards me, on my side of the road. I can’t even describe how close they were.
“I had no time to react. All I remember thinking is ‘it is my side of the road, this can’t be happening’.
“It was wham, bam, shaking about and I must have blacked out. I felt warm and having a nice dream but can’t remember what it was about. I came round and realised I was in a collision, all my body was in pain.”
Police investigations revealed the force of the collision caused both cars to rotate away from each other.
A third car, a Ford Fiesta, which had been following the Corsa went through the middle, clipping both vehicles.
The driver, Polly Jefferson, was in court but too distressed to give evidence and was led from the room sobbing.
In her statement to police she had said: “There was a male in the driver’s seat completely motionless. His arm was hanging out of the car and his head slumped forward. I felt for a pulse but there was no sign. Another man tried but was unsuccessful and he said to me ‘he’s gone’.”
Police investigations concluded Daniel’s car was straddling the solid white lines as he negotiated the bend and when he braked, the wheels locked causing the car to slide onto the wrong side of the road into the path of the Corsa.
The force of the impact froze his speedometer at 73mph.
TC David Foster said: “It is clear the impact occurred on the wrong side of the road for the Seat. What is not apparent is why it came to be in this position.”
Daniel’s parents asked whether he could have fallen asleep at the wheel or swerved to avoid an animal leading him to end up on the wrong side of the road but TC Foster added: “I could not 100% exclude it but it is more likely a mistake was made because he was travelling at high speed. The higher the speed a small mistake becomes massively magnified.”
Coroner Michael Oakley reached a verdict of accidental death.
After the hearing, Daniel’s mum Sue told the Gazette: “I know it was his fault he was on the wrong side of the road but they still did not have a reason.
“Speed definitely contributed to his death. Everybody speeds, I cannot believe anybody hand on heart can say they have never done that. But I just hope someone will learn from this and think of Daniel and slow down. Being in a car, you just don’t realise how dangerous that is.”