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Maidstone mother tells driver in crash that killed her son not to blame herself

The mum of an 18-year-old killed when he lost control of his bike and smashed into a car has told the driver involved not to blame herself.

An inquest found no clear answers on how Oliver Waller came to lose his life and hit the side of a Volvo.

Ollie Waller
Ollie Waller

Mr Waller, known as Ollie, of Quarry Road, Maidstone, died on January 12 in hospital after the New Year's Day crash, at the Cranborne Avenue junction with Loose Road, in the County Town.

He never regained consciousness after the collision and his mum has previously previously spoken about the agonising moment she had to give doctors at King's College Hospital permission to turn off the life support machine.

An inquest into Mr Waller’s death heard that the collision happened at about 5.40pm on January 1, 2021.

Investigating officer, DC Robert Fursey, said that the Volvo driver was travelling on the A229 Loose Road in a queue of traffic which was moving through a green traffic light, within the 30 mph speed limit.

Mr Waller, travelling through a red light, came out of the Cranborne Avenue junction and smashed into the front passenger side of the Volvo.

Mum Jolene Reader, holding pictures of Ollie
Mum Jolene Reader, holding pictures of Ollie

He was not wearing a helmet and suffered serious head injuries. The bike was also not fitted with lights, although the road was well-lit.

The driver and a passenger, her sister, were treated for shock. DC Fursey said CCTV showed she was driving in a “careful and competent manner”, adding: “The responsibility for the collision lies with Mr Waller.”

The inquest heard the driver had no time to avoid the crash.

Speaking after the inquest, Oliver’s mum Jolene Reader said: “I don’t blame the driver, she’s probably having night terrors over it. I was forever telling him not to ride that bike. He came off his bike about three days previously.”

Speaking about the fact Oliver could be seen pedalling in the dash cam footage, she said: “It was just heartbreaking that he was trying to steer away from the accident.”

“I don’t blame the driver, she’s probably having night terrors over it..."

Mr Waller was identified to police by his step-brother, Danny White, who came looking for him and then spotted the bike.

Police were told the pair had been smoking cannabis together and were planning on returning to Quarry Road on their bikes, but Mr White’s vehicle had a puncture, so his step-brother made his way home alone.

Mr White grew concerned when the 18-year-old did not return so traced their usual route home, until he came across the police cordon.

A GP’s report showed that Mr Waller had epilepsy and was prescribed medication for his condition.

He had at least six seizures in 2020 and a relative, Tania Thompson, said he had suffered a fit three days before on his bike, which was stationary at the time.

Ollie Waller as a child
Ollie Waller as a child

Mrs Reader said she had been told by King’s College Hospital that Oliver had a fit at the scene of the crash, and she believes he may have had a fit during or before the crash.

However, there was no medical evidence of a fit before or after the crash, the inquest heard.

DC Fursey said the cause of the loss of control of the bike “remains unknown”, but the most reasonable explanations were either a medical emergency such as an epileptic fit, or taking cannabis.

There is no evidence around how much of the substance Mr Waller had taken.

A verdict was given as road traffic collision.

Oliver was described by Mrs Reader as a happy-go-lucky child, who loved the outdoors and animals. He enjoyed fishing with his cousin, riding his quad bike, dismantling and reassembling his bicycle.

He suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and was autistic. He liked people, but he found it difficult to cope with too many at a time.

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Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

A fundraising page was set up to support the family.

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