Teen is third to die at blackspot
PUBLISHED: 14:18 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:34 23 August 2010
ROBERT was a loving son and brother who is going to be greatly missed by many people. He was always smiling and had time to help others. We are all devastated by his death. Heartbroken Corinne Cooter pays tribute to her 17-year-old son, Robert, of Sun
ROBERT was a loving son and brother who is going to be greatly missed by many people. He was always smiling and had time to help others. We are all devastated by his death."
Heartbroken Corinne Cooter pays tribute to her 17-year-old son, Robert, of Sun Lane, Gravesend, who became the third person to die on a notorious stretch of road within 18 months.
He was killed at about 11pm on Sunday after smashing into a telegraph pole on the A227 Wrotham Road in his Vauxhall Corsa, near the junction with Nash Bank. His car was found on its roof in a ditch but he was declared dead at the scene.
The student, who attended North West Kent College in Dartford, enjoyed playing all sports but his first love was petanque. He played at Gravesend RFC Petanque Club and was the current English junior champion. A fan of West Ham FC, he also enjoyed playing computer games.
Club chairman Ian King, 63, of Albion Road, Gravesend, said: "It's a real shock. I have known him since he was a little boy. The whole family are members of the club.
"Those that know him will be extremely upset. He was an international player. In his age group he was one of the top players. He was in the British youth championship team.
"I played with him in his back garden at birthday parties and things like that. Everybody got on well with him and he obviously enjoyed life."
Since his death scores of tributes have been placed on the Facebook group 'In loving memory of Robert Cooter'. One placed by Dartford campus student Sophie Velvick reads: "I've been thinking about what to say and no words come to mind every part of me is still in shock.
"All I can say is I hope Rob has gone to a better place. My thoughts go out to all of his family and close friends. College will definitely never be the same with such a big part missing. Rest in Peace Rob x x x x."
Pam Cleggett, 69, of South Street, Meopham, whose father died on the road last August, is among many residents who have been appealing for traffic calming measures. Her father Tom Hole, 96, was killed after being hit by a car while on his way to pick up a morning newspaper.
The 69-year-old has repeatedly written to Kent Highways suggesting downgrading the road to a B road and installing average speed cameras or other traffic calming measures but all the ideas have been rejected by the council's PIPKIN computer system which looks at the road's crash records, layout, traffic flow and speeds to prioritise where money is spent.
She said: "We need some sort of traffic calming here. There's got to be some way the council can do something to enforce the speed limit. That's what I would like to see because if cars are speeding down here it doesn't give people a chance.
"They have got to weigh up life against what a computer says. I don't know how many more people are going to lose their lives down here."
Father-of-three Paul Philpot, 46, of Hurst Road, Erith, died after his motorbike collided with a car in November 2007. Two weeks before the latest incident a 17-year-old was taken to Darent Valley Hospital after rolling his Fiat Punto near the Nurstead Church Lane junction.
Mrs Cleggett added: "We are still getting over dad at the moment and he was an older man but somebody at that age still had so much life ahead of them. It's so dreadful.
"We have had numerous other accidents that obviously don't get reported. There are walls that have been knocked down since dad died. You have to wonder what they are going to do about it.
"Whatever we want to do they say they haven't got the money."
On the English Petanque Association roll of honour latest victim Robert is credited with winning the English Junior Triples in 2008 and 2006.
National president Mike Pegg said: "It deeply saddens me to report the untimely death of Robert Cooter.
"This very sad news of Robert's passing has stunned the entire management committee.
"Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with Mark, Corinne and Jennifer at this heart-rending time."
Police kept the A227 closed until 5.30am on Monday as crash investigators worked at the scene and debris and the vehicle was removed from the site.
County transportation manager David Hall said: "Kent Highway Services would like to offer its condolences to the family of the young man killed in this crash on the A227. We are awaiting a police report into the circumstances.
"Meanwhile, an allocation of £50,000 has been set aside to improve the speed limit signs along the full length of the A227 Wrotham Road during the coming year."
Anyone who witnessed the latest collision should call the Kent Police Serious Crash Investigation Unit on 01622 798538.