Musician died after losing control of his car on A26

A26 crash SUS-150112-235350008
A26 crash SUS-150112-235350008

A young and talented musician died after losing control of his car on the A26 at Beddingham, an inquest into his death has heard.

Oberon Harwood-King, of Barcombe Mills Road, was driving a silver Mazda 2 south along the A26 on the morning of November 25 when it was in collision with an Audi A4.

The 24-year-old company director was airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, but was later pronounced dead.

An inquest into his death, held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, April 7, heard how the weather conditions that day were cold but bright.

There had been some drizzle in the morning and the road surface was damp, but it had stopped raining before the crash occurred.

Giving evidence in court, John Olley said he saw Mr Harwood-King pull up behind him while waiting in the middle lane at the Ashcombe Roundabout. Mr Harwood-King had pulled into the right-hand lane to overtake a lorry up ahead. Mr Olley said the manoeuvre was safe and he saw no problems with Mr Harwood-King’s driving.

However, just moments later, Mr Harwood-King lost control of his car on the A26, crashing into the white Audi being driven by Ana Christie.

Ms Christie, chief executive of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce, told the court: “I was coming up to a left-hand bend. I’d seen signs indicating a sharp bend. I was already slowing down, changing down gears. I saw a silver car as it came round the corner, it appeared to spin. As it was spinning, it was coming down on my side of the road.”

The front of the Audi crashed head-on into the passenger side of the Mazda, causing substantial damage. The collision happened entirely in the northbound carriageway - the opposing lane to which Mr Harwood-King was travelling.

Stephen Ashby, of the Sussex Police forensic collision investigation unit, told the court there was nothing Ms Christie could do to avoid hitting the Mazda.

When asked for possible reasons why Mr Harwood-King lost control of his vehicle, Mr Ashby said there was no definitive conclusion, but he believed it could have been a combination of the damp surface, excessive speed for the road conditions and harsh steering. Mr Harwood-King tested negative for alcohol and drugs, and had not been using his mobile phone.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze recorded a conclusion of road traffic collision.

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