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Driver Ian Parker smashed into tractor at 60mph while not wearing seatbelt on lane between Lenham and Doddington, inquest hears

A driver died from head injuries when his car smashed into a stationary tractor at about 60mph, an inquest heard.

Ian Parker, 29, was not wearing a seat belt when he crashed on a wet country lane between Lenham and Doddington at 10am on Sunday, November 17, the hearing was told.

The car, which did not have an anti-lock braking system, skidded into the tractor when the brakes locked, killing Mr Parker almost instantly.

Ian Parker, from Ashford
Ian Parker, from Ashford

Farm worker Mark White, who has driven tractors for 20 years, said he pulled over on Faversham Road, Wichling, to let a Ford Ranger Wildtrak 4x4 with a trailer pass in the opposite direction and the vehicle was still passing him when Mr Parker’s car crashed into the tractor.

The driver of the 4x4 was never traced but Roy Coles, who was driving his silver Peugeot behind the tractor, agreed with Mr White’s account.

Mark White said: “I got the tractor as far as I could into the hedgerow. The 4x4 driver did the same on the other side and just squeezed through. I stopped the tractor and put it into park.

“The trailer was level with my cab when Mr Parker came round the corner. I looked up because I heard something skidding. He had just come off the corner.

"I tried to get the tractor back into gear to get it through the hedge so, worst-case scenario, he would have hit the tyre not the tractor itself.

Ian Parker died in an accident with a tractor
Ian Parker died in an accident with a tractor

"But in my panic I couldn’t get it into gear. The Saxo disappeared under the front of my tractor.”

Mr White jumped down from his tractor but was not prepared for the sight that greeted him.

He said: “He didn’t have a seat belt on. He was unconscious but I thought he was breathing. I rang 999 and the woman told me what to do to assist him.

"I tried to put him in a position where his airways were clear.

"I ran up and down the road to get help and someone said they were a first-aider. They took a look and said there was nothing they could do.

“I didn’t even feel the car hit the tractor. If I’m honest I expected to get out and make sure the person driving was OK. I didn’t expect to see what I saw.”

PC Mark Chapelhow from the serious collision investigation unit confirmed Mr Parker’s blue Citroen Saxo was travelling towards Doddington when it hit Mr White’s green John Deere tractor, which was pulling a large trailer filled with wood.

PC Chapelhow said Mr Parker’s car was travelling a minimum of 59mph when he hit the brake, but it could have been going faster.

"I ran up and down the road to get help and someone said they were a first-aider. They took a look and said there was nothing they could do" - Mark White

He said even if Mr Parker, of Kent Avenue, Ashford, had been driving within the 60mph speed limit he may not have been able to stop before hitting the tractor, which had been travelling in the opposite direction.

PC Chapelhow said: “The thing with a country road is the speed limit is not there to be achieved.

“You need to drive to the conditions.”

Mr White’s vehicle exceeded the maximum legal weight but this did not contribute to the collision, PC Chapelhow added.

A postmortem examination revealed Mr Parker died from severe head injuries.

Mr Parker’s father, Robert Parker, believed the damage to his son’s car was too bad for the tractor to have been stationary and suggested both vehicles were moving when they collided.

Coroner Patricia Harding adjourned the inquest part-heard after Mr Parker Senior asked for additional evidence to be considered.

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