Inquest hears teenage cyclist died in collision on the A19 at Eggborough with driver who was never prosecuted

The collision happened outside the main entrance to Eggborough power stationThe collision happened outside the main entrance to Eggborough power station
The collision happened outside the main entrance to Eggborough power station
A coroner has ruled that a driver was not to blame for a collision which killed a teenage cyclist on the A19.

15-year-old Kadell Bartlett and a friend were cycling north along the A19 Selby Road near the main entrance to Eggborough power station when his BMX bike was struck from behind by a Volkswagen Passat driven by Matthew Clark on a warm, clear summer's evening in July 2018.

Kadell, from Snaith, was treated at the scene by a passing nurse before being airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary. He died the next day from a traumatic brain injury and his liver, heart, pancreas and kidneys were all donated.

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Both Kadell's father, Dane Morris, and driver Matthew Clark were represented by barristers at an inquest held at Pavilions of Harrogate over three days this week. Kadell's mother and grandmother, Kelly and Carol Bartlett, were also present but did not have legal counsel.

The inquest heard a statement from the second teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who was present at the scene of the collision and who was not injured.

The boy admitted that Kadell may have 'smoked a bit of a spliff' earlier in the day and that he may have been wearing one or both earphones. A set of earphones and Kadell's iPhone were recovered from the scene by police.

The driver of the Passat, Matthew Clark, described himself as a father and regular cyclist himself who at the time was working in the sales training team at an Arnold Clark motor dealership. The Passat was a company car and the section of the A19 was part of his daily commute. The speed limit is 60mph.

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Mr Clark gave lengthy evidence during which he was questioned extensively by the lawyer acting for Kadell's father.

He told the inquest that as he approached Eggborough power station on his way home from work that day, he engaged the adaptive cruise control in his car and set the speed at 60mph.

Mr Clark said he saw the boys from around 100-150 metres away, slowed down and began to pull out to the right near the junction with Tranmore Road so he could overtake in the southbound lane to give them plenty of room.

He claimed that the rider at the rear, who was Kadell on his BMX, was on the road while his friend remained on a narrow path alongside.

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He said when he was around 10-15ft from Kadell, the cyclist pulled sharply to the right at what appeared to be a 90 degree angle and struck the Passat sideways on, before being carried over the bonnet and the top of the car. Mr Clark applied the brakes hard at this point, swerved further to the right and came to a stop on a grass verge where Kadell had also been thrown.

Mr Clark reiterated that Kadell was on the road and his friend on the path, and that Kadell's riding position was towards the middle of the northbound lane. He said this was 'not the position where I would expect to see a cyclist' and that there were no right turn options at the point of the road that Kadell could be considering, or any indication he was about to turn off.

He estimated his speed as he began the overtaking manoeuvre to be between 50-60mph and the cruise control had disengaged by this point.

Mr Clark added that Kadell was riding normally on a straight course and was not performing any tricks or stunts.

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Mr Clark called 999 to report the collision, and attended two voluntary interviews at Selby police station subsequently. He was never arrested or charged in relation to Kadell's death.

He denied accelerating at any point once Kadell and his friend were in sight.

An autopsy found traces of cannabis in Kadell's bloodstream consistent with recent use. There were also traces of an antidepressant drug, though Kadell's GP had not prescribed him any medication.

The inquest heard that there were CCTV cameras at the entrance to the power station which covered both lanes of the A19.

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North Yorkshire Police forensic collision investigator Steve Kirkbright examined both the Passat and the BMX following the incident. He established that the BMX had no brakes and that these had been deliberately removed, so it would have only been possible for the rider to stop the bike by running their foot along the ground or the rear wheel.

The BMX's offside pedal had torn the Passat's front nearside tyre, suggesting to Mr Kirkbright that Kadell had struck the car at a diagonal rather than 90 degree angle, the latter of which would have been difficult to execute on a cycle.

He said he was satisfied that the collision had occurred in the southbound lane and there was no evidence the Passat had drifted to the left or struck the northbound curb at any point. The car was already swerving to the right at the moment of impact.

Kadell's speed was described as 'unhurried' based on CCTV footage of the run-up to the collision, and Mr Kirkbright said it had been difficult to estimate the speed of the Passat accurately based on evidence at the scene, as there were no skid marks due to the car's state-of-the-art braking system.

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He believed it to be 60mph at the point of impact, though a police reconstruction which compared the speed of a patrol car with that of the Passat when it was caught on the power station's CCTV camera suggested it was travelling at between 70-80mph, and that 75mph was a mathematical likelihood.

He added that the footage did not meet the evidential threshold for a speeding charge because the vehicle must be measured over a minimum distance of a quarter of a mile, which in this case it fell well short of.

Kadell's mother Kelly Bartlett told the inquest that her son was the eldest of her three children. The Snaith High School pupil loved gaming, clothes shopping and modifying his BMX bike. She was aware that he occasionally smoked cannabis and that he did not like wearing his cycle helmet because he believed it was 'uncool'. She added that she has since received letters from the families of children who have received Kadell's donated organs.

Recording a verdict of death due to road traffic collision, senior coroner for North Yorkshire Jonathan Heath said: "I am not able to conclude what effect, it any, the cannabis had on Kadell's riding. I cannot be satisfied what the precise speed of the Passat was, but I accept Mr Kirkbright's estimate of 60mph. I'm not able to conclude whether or not Kadell was wearning earphones. I am satisfied the collision took place in the southbound lane."

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