Driver in tragic town centre collision ‘was doing 80mph’

Aftermath: Emergency services at the scene of the fatal crash in Market Street, Long Sutton.
Aftermath: Emergency services at the scene of the fatal crash in Market Street, Long Sutton.
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SPEEDING death crash driver Graham Carter had two near misses with cars before he drove on the wrong side of the road and ploughed head-on into a lorry.

The impact shoved the slow-moving lorry ten metres backwards along Market Street, Long Sutton, an inquest heard.

Graham Carter

Graham Carter

Mr Carter (67), of Richard Busby Way, Lutton, died at the scene from multiple injuries on February 1.

Two car drivers described how they took evasive action as the pensioner began his teatime journey home from a bowls club in Long Sutton.

One saw smoke coming from the wheels of Mr Carter’s Citroen Xsara Picasso – the second estimated his speed at between 80-90mph.

Spalding lorry driver Clive Dodd said there was nothing he could do to avoid the crash.

“I braced myself and then he hit me,” he said. “I was doing about 15mph when he crashed into me. I was just picking up speed. He was on my side of the road.”

Collision investigator Paul Whetstone said it was impossible to estimate the car’s speed at the time of impact but the lorry was travelling no more than 8mph.

He said CCTV pictures clearly showed the lorry bounce back by ten metres.

PC Whetstone said: “It shows the lorry going backwards faster than it actually comes to the scene.”

Friday’s inquest heard Mr Carter was normally a safe and careful driver but he was diabetic and low blood sugar could have contributed to him acting out of character.

Pathologist Dr Elizabeth Sankey said post mortem tests can measure whether someone’s blood sugar is too high – and Mr Carter did not have high blood sugar – but there was no test to show whether it was too low.

She said: “We know that when somebody does develop low sugar their behaviour does change – they can do things without realising it.

“The only thing I can think of is that his sugar was low at the time that he left the club on his way home to have an evening meal.

“The way he was driving was completely out of character.”

Roy Smith, from Long Sutton Indoor Bowls Club, said he talked to Mr Carter moments before he left the club at around 5pm and he seemed to be his “usual cheerful self”.

Driver Peter Higgins said he and his young son were going towards Lime Court on the day of the crash when Mr Carter reversed at speed out of a drive.

Mr Higgins said: “We made an emergency stop. The gentleman stopped in his vehicle for a few moments, stared across at us as if it was our fault and then sped away to the point where smoke was coming off the wheels of the vehicle.”

Widow Pamela Carter said her husband had been diabetic since he was 22 and managed the condition well, injecting insulin and testing his own blood sugar.

He usually knew when his blood sugar was low, but occasionally she would spot the signs and ask him to test it and get something to eat.

Coroner Maureen Taylor recorded a verdict of accidental death.