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Grieving mum calls for speed to be curbed

PUBLISHED: 16:39 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:00 23 August 2010

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THE mother of a teenage sports champion who died after smashing his car into a telegraph pole has called for the speed limit to be slashed on the road he crashed. English junior Pentanque champion Robert Cooter, 17, of Sun Lane, Gravesend, died of head i

THE mother of a teenage sports champion who died after smashing his car into a telegraph pole has called for the speed limit to be slashed on the road he crashed.

English junior Pentanque champion Robert Cooter, 17, of Sun Lane, Gravesend, died of head injuries following an accident on the A227 Wrotham Road on Mothers' Day in March.

His silver Vauxhall Corsa left the road on a bend near the junction with Nash Bank, hit a telegraph pole and overturned. Emergency services rushed to his aid but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Speaking outside Dartford Coroners Court on Tuesday, after an inquest determined his death to be accidental, his heartbroken mother Corinne Cooter, 46, also of Sun Lane, demanded speed limits on the road are cut.

She said: "The speed limit should be lowered, there should be better lights introduced. It's too fast on the bend it should be slower on the bend."

From examining tyre marks on the road investigating officer PC Andrew Waghorn of Kent Police concluded Mr Cooter had lost control of the vehicle which then left the road, hit a telegraph pole rolled down a verge and came to rest in a field.

Student Daniel Blythe, from Meopham, was the first on the scene of the accident after noticing the wreckage while driving home.

In a statement given to police he said: "The car was facing the road on its roof. It was not a long way off the road but it was down a grass bank.

"The car had hit a telegraph pole and knocked it down completely flat. The ignition of the car was still on but the engine wasn't running.

"I couldn't here any sounds coming from the driver and the roof was so crushed down I couldn't get to him.

"I just shouted to the driver but I didn't get any reply."

No defects were found in the car, there was no evidence of another vehicle being involved and a toxicology report found Mr Cooter was not over the drink drive limit, the court heard.

Recording his verdict coroner Roger Hatch said: "Mr Cooter was a young lad of 17 he had only recently passed his driving test and was necessarily, no doubt, somewhat inexperienced on driving.

"There's no evidence of excessive speed and there's no evidence to say how the accident occurred. On the face of it he lost control of the car on the bend and left the road colliding with the telegraph pole and the tragic occurrence then took place."

The teenager was the third person to die on Wrotham Road in 18 months. Last August 96-year-old Tom Hole was knocked down and killed outside his house while on his way to pick up a morning paper.

Father-of-three Paul Philpot, 46, of Hurst Road, Erith, died after his motorbike collided with a car in November 2007.

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