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Boxing coach overtaking when fatal crash happened on A229 at Linton

A boxing coach has told of the moment he lost control of his car – seconds before it was involved in a death crash at Linton.

John Verlander was overtaking two vehicles along the A229 when he felt the back of his Citroen begin to slide.

The South-East Water employee told a jury how he felt the “back end” slipping before the car went sidewards and struck the oncoming vehicle.

John Verlander
John Verlander

Verlander told police in an interview how he had been to Sittingbourne coaching young boxers.

In his car were his daughter and two young lads, they were all travelling behind two other vehicles doing about 45mph.

“I was keeping a safe distance from them. I wasn’t in a rush. Then we came to a stretch of road which I thought was safe to get around the cars without breaking the 60mph speed limit.

“I overtook both cars at the same time and came back into my side of the carriageway. I then felt the back end slip out.

“I said to myself: ‘Oh hell.’”

Verlander said that as he struggled to regain control the steering wheel locked as his car moved towards the bend.

He told police he remembered seeing lights and may have blacked out and couldn’t remember the crash.

He said he could recall a woman shouting and a man shouting back at her that “accidents happen all the time”.

Verlander added that he drove the route to Sittingbourne twice a week and thought it had been safe to overtake.

Prosecutor Rachel Beckett claimed Verlander had more than the prescribed limit for cannabis four hours after the death crash.

Victim Romanian Madalin-Constantin Lungoci, 22, from Hastings died at the scene from his injuries.

Verlander, 38, of St Leonards, East Sussex has denied causing his death by driving dangerously.

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