Belfast Telegraph

Crash death teen riding scrambler illegally on road

By Victoria O'Hara

A teenager was illegally riding an off-road motorbike on a busy road when he died from head injuries sustained in a horrific traffic collision, an inquest has heard.

Dillon Woodside (16), from the Westmount Drive area of Carrickfergus, was killed when his 140cc scrambler-type bike crashed into a white van on February 4, 2011.

The fatal collision happened shortly before 4pm in the Elizabeth Avenue area of the town at the junction with Barn Road.

After overtaking two vehicles Dillon, despite "severe braking", crashed into the van that was indicating right and in the process of turning at the junction.

After losing control of the bike he fell to the rear of the van.

Witnesses described how the wheel, or wheels, of the van drove over the teenager.

The Belfast inquest was told yesterday how emergency services battled to save his life.

A PSNI officer drove the ambulance to hospital to allow paramedics to continue to administer treatment. But the boy was "unresponsive and had no pulse", and died in the Royal Victoria Hospital. Assistant State Pathologist Dr Peter Ingram said a post-mortem examination revealed he sustained a lower fracture across the base of the skull.

PSNI officer David Thompson, told coroner Suzanne Anderson the bike was not taxed or insured to drive on the roads, and was for cross-country and private use.

"That vehicle should not have been on the road," he said.

Dillon's father Philip said his son, who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Asperger's syndrome, was riding bikes from an early age. Mr Woodside added that he had had concern about the rear brake of the bike.

Forensic officer Dr Emerson Callender confirmed the rear brakes were defective.

He said during the incident Dillon would have had to rely on the front brake - which would have locked - leading to the instability of the bike.

He said, however, for an experienced driver, the van indicating would have been a "visual clue" the motorist intended to turn right and to slow down.

Tests showed both bike and van were travelling at low speeds.

Mr Woodside said the loss of their son had "completely shattered" the family.

Van driver Christopher Bond was questioned by police after the collision but not prosecuted.

Mr Bond, who made the proper checks before making the manoeuvre, said he did not see the bike but heard it as he turned. He said he then "felt the bump".

Ms Anderson said it was a "tragic accident" that had left the family devastated.

She said Mr Woodside acknowledged his son should not have been driving the bike on the road and had "paid a terrible price".

Ms Anderson also noted how Mr Woodside had "graciously acknowledged" how the incident had affected the driver of the van.

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