Published: 17:00, 30 April 2014
A soldier died two hours after his motorbike slid and threw him into the path of an oncoming car, an inquest heard.
The hearing was told the crash which killed Corporal Terry Stevenson, based with the 36 Royal Engineers Regiment in Maidstone, could have been caused after he drove over a manhole cover in wet conditions.
Travelling at roughly 40mph in a 50mph zone along Cranbrook Road, Hawkhurst, Cpl Stevenson’s bike slid into the back of a Vauxhall Astra van ahead of him.
The impact caused the Honda Deauville to spin out of control.
The 35-year-old was thrown onto the other side of the road and into the path of a Ford Fiesta travelling in the opposite direction.
Cpl Stevenson suffered injuries to his pelvis and chest and he died just after 7.15pm on Monday February 10, at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury.
PC David Kirk, a forensic investigator specialising in road accidents, could not say for certain if the accident was caused by the bike going over the manhole cover, but he had not ruled it out.
Skid marks on the road and the bike’s front tyre were consistent with hitting the cover but there was also a minor throttle defect that could have made it difficult to slow down.
Maureen Stone, who was driving the Astra, said Cpl Stevenson had been following her for sometime and was not driving erratically.
He had been in the Army for 13 years, both in the UK and Germany, and served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He belonged to the 50 Headquarters and Support Squadron and had recently finished training and developing young troops for an upcoming training exercise in Jordan.
He was returning home to St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex when the accident happened.
Coroner Roger Hatch, sitting at Tunbridge Wells Coroners Court in Crescent Road, expressed his sympathies for Cpl Stevenson’s family and concluded that he died as a result of a road traffic collison.
He added: “There seems no explanation as to why control was lost of the motorcycle.
“It may well be as the police officer has told me that the manhole cover may have contributed in some way.”
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