Mother of Doncaster teen killed in horror crash pays tribute to 'family giant'

Ethen Saunders
Ethen Saunders

The mother of a Doncaster teenager killed in a horror crash has paid tribute to a 'family giant' who 'always gave 110 per cent to whatever he did'.

An inquest into the death of 18-year-old Ethen Saunders, who sadly passed away after the Renaut Clio vehicle he was driving collided with a Renault Master van on the A635 Doncaster Road, Hickleton on the morning of April 17 this year, resumed at Doncaster Coroners' Court this morning.

During the hearing, a statement from Ethen's mother, Lisa Laverick, was read in evidence, through which she paid tribute to the promising teenager who she said had been looking forward to starting university.

"He was outgoing, and liked to be the centre of attention," said Lisa, adding: "He was a happy-go-lucky lad who gave 110 per cent to whatever he did.

"He was considerate to others. He was a big, family giant. He had lots of job offers. He loved drama and playing rugby."

The court was told how the collision occurred when Ethen lost control of his Renault Clio vehicle as he attempted to navigate a bend on the single carriageway road, which led to the vehicle moving onto the wrong side of the road and into the path of a Renault Master van driven by Matthew Kenyan.

Giving evidence at court, Mr Kenyan estimated he was travelling at around 40mph on the national speed limit road and said the collision happened so quickly he did not have time to take any evasive action.

"It was in the blink of an eye. The car hit me and went off to the side, and spun me around as well with the impact of the car," said Mr Kenyan, who suffered a broken sternum in the collision.

The emergency services were called out to the scene, but they found that Ethen was not breathing when they arrived. Despite their best efforts, the former Campsmount School pupil died at the scene.

Hystopathologist Suzanne Rodgers concluded that Ethen died from multiple injuries he suffered in the collision, which included brain injuries, skull fractures and chest trauma.

Forensic Collision Investigator, Police Constable John Taylor, confirmed that the collision took place in the carriageway correctly travelled in by the Renault Master van, and said he believed there was nothing Mr Kenyan could have done to prevent the collision from taking place.

PC Taylor concluded that Ethen lost control of the vehicle and carreered into the wrong side of the road after experiencing a 'lift-off oversteer' when attempting to navigate the bend at high speed.

The court was told that lift-off oversteer occurs when a decelleration in a vehicle previously travelling at speed causes the weight of the vehicle to shift from the rear to the front, and in Ethen's case led to the vehicle beginning to rotate as it moved across the carriageway.

PC Taylor said that tyre marks left on the road by Ethen's vehicle suggested he had been travelling at a speed of around 75mph - 15mph above the limit - as he approached the bend, and calculated the impact speed as being approximately 67mph.

He said he could not corroborate Mr Kenyan's assertion that he was travelling at around 40mph, but said there was also no evidence to disprove that.

While PC Taylor noted that Ethen was speeding when he approached the bend, he also noted that in optimum conditions the bend could theoretically be navigated at speeds of up to 100mph.

He said he believed Ethen's inexperience as a driver may have been a factor, due to the fact he had been driving for less than a year, and said there was nothing to explain the collision other than 'driver error' on Ethen's part.

The court was told that both drivers were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the collision, and that both tested negative for traces of drugs and alcohol. Examination of both drivers' mobile phones confirmed that neither of them were using their phones when the collision took place.

Coroner Louise Slater recorded a conclusion of road traffic collision, and passed her condolences on to Ethen's family, who were present in court.