Driver haunted by fatal crash image

Joseph Green - died in the collision
Joseph Green - died in the collision

A LORRY driver said he is haunted by a fatal smash which saw a flaming motorbike plough into his vehicle.

Simon Croud recounted the horror of looking into the eyes of husband and father Joseph Green before he fell from his bike.

He told an inquest, on March 3, that as it hit the tarmac of the A26 near Beddingham, the bike caught fire and careered into Mr Croud’s waste disposal lorry, killing Mr Green.

Mr Croud, 39, said, “I know that it was a dark visor - but I can still picture his eyes looking at me in the face and the expression he had.”

Mr Green, of Great Cliffe Road, was out on a regular Sunday morning pleasure ride with three pals when he met his end on May 16, 2010.

Riding his 600cc Suzuki, 25-year-old Mr Green took a tight left-hand bend - at what police believe was close to 80mph - and drifted out into the middle of a road.

He caught sight of Mr Croud’s Mercedes lorry bearing down on him and tried to right himself, but his bike fishtailed and slipped, smashing into the road in a ball of flame.

The bike and Mr Green, who worked at PHS Wastetech in Polegate, skidded into the opposite lane and into the path of the breaking lorry.

Pathologist Dr Jane Mercer said Mr Green almost certainly died of a head injury, sustained when he collided with the front of the heavy goods vehicle.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of death by road traffic accident.

He said, “One has the feeling he was probably approaching this bend at a speed that was more than he could cope with and unfortunately he came to grief.”

Witnesses gave different accounts of the bikers’ driving behaviour.

Some said they were riding safely at up to 60mph but Mr Croud and Maurice Hole said they might have been travelling at speeds nearing 80mph.

Mr Hole said, “My wife said ‘I hope we’re not going to see a fatality’.

“I think we both knew we were going to see something horrible. As we came up the hill we saw a column of smoke.”

PC Christopher Harrison, a crash investigation officer, said the stretch of road was a notoriously dangerous one and he could think of three other bikers who had died there last year.

In a tribute to her husband, Karen Green told the Herald, “Joe loved his family and loved going to the pub and socialising with his mates.

“He was a joker but a lovely guy. He was my best friend, my everything.”