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Cranbrook lifeguard Charlie McArthur died in hospital a week after Mini crash

A newly-qualified driver was "taken far too soon" after he lost control of his car and hit a tree and died a week later in hospital.

Trainee lifeguard Charlie McArthur, 19, was driving along Golford Road, Cranbrook when his silver Mini came off the road and overturned.

The crash happened as the teenager was driving along Golford Road towards Benenden. Picture: Google
The crash happened as the teenager was driving along Golford Road towards Benenden. Picture: Google

The teenager, of Dorothy Avenue, Cranbrook was rushed to Kings College Hospital where he died seven days later. A fundraiser set up by his parents in his memory for the hospital and air ambulance has now raised more than £4,000.

He had only passed his driving test six months before the crash, which happened as he was travelling on a right hand bend towards Benenden.

An inquest into Mr McArthur's death at County Hall in Maidstone last week heard how analysis from Kent Police's forensic investigation team discovered his rear tyres were under-inflated.

The recommended per square inch (PSI) for his vehicle was around 30, while his nearside rear tyre was 19 and his outside rear tyre was 23.

Det Sgt Peter Greaves explained conditions were sunny and the road was dry when the accident occurred at around 12.20pm on May 10.

The inquest was heard at County Hall, Maidstone
The inquest was heard at County Hall, Maidstone

Det Sgt Greaves explained how there were no cars around at the time of the accident, but members of public were quickly on the scene.

One man who was driving along the road detailed seeing the vehicle on the side of the road and smoking.

When he got out of his car to check if the driver was inside, he saw Mr McArthur's arm trapped between the roof and the steering wheel.

Another witness described hearing the crash from his nearby home and he could hear the vehicle rolling.

Coroner Alan Blunsdon heard how there were no mechanical defects with the car, Mr McArthur was wearing a seatbelt, wasn't exceeding the speed limit and wasn't using his phone.

The 19-year-old also had no traces of alcohol or drugs in his system.

The court also heard there was a sign warning drivers of the bend in the road but this was partially obscured due to overgrown vegetation.

Forensic investigator PC Helen Waghorn ruled this most likely didn't affect the crash.

She said the collision likely occurred as a result of Mr McArthur's actions.

PC Waghorn suggested he had misjudged the speed he was going and took his foot off the accelerator, which lead to oversteer and the car rotating into the wrong side of the road, which could have been exacerbated by the low tyre pressure in his rear tyres.

Mr Blunsdon ruled Mr McArthur died as a result of a road traffic collision.

'Without them [doctors and the air ambulance] Charlie would not have been able to be a donor'

The inquest was attended by Mr McArthur's parents Philip and Kirstie and their new partners.

Following the inquest, Philip described him as a wonderful son who was "taken far too soon from us".

He said: "He was full of life, always doing something, helping someone, or just fidgeting.

"One of the most amazing things Charlie did in his 19 years with us was to sign up to be an organ donor. Something we didn’t know about until after his accident.

"His foresight not only helped to lift the burden of decision making from us but also gave the opportunity of improved life, if not life itself, to others.

"This has given us a great deal of comfort as we still deal with our loss of him."

Philip and his new partner Gillian McArthur set up a fundraiser in memory of Charlie to raise money for the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance and Kings College Hospital.

Philip added: "A large factor in Charlie being able to be a donor was the dedication and actions of both the air ambulance, who airlifted him to Kings College Hospital in London, and the emergency and critical care staff there who made every effort to save his life and care for him.

"Without them Charlie would not have been able to be a donor and we would have had a much more difficult time dealing with Charlie’s passing.

"Nor would we have had the opportunity of honouring him by following his selfless decision to offer his organs to directly help others and consequently to help their families to avoid having to make the heart rending and difficult decisions that we had to."

So far, more than £4,200 has been raised for the air ambulance and hospital.

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