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OLD TYRE BLEW OUT ON TRAGEDY COACH; Inquest hears of 19 year age of wheel.

Byline: TIM HARRIS

A COACH which crashed on its way back from a music festival killing two young Merseysiders and the driver had a 19 year old tyre, an inquest into the deaths heard.

Driver Colin Daulby, 63, from Warrington, young musician Michael Molloy, 18, of Woolton, and Kerry Ogden, 23, from Maghull, were killed on the way back from the Bestival event on the Isle of Wight last September 10.

The inquest into the crash on the A3 between the Hindhead Tunnel and Thursley heard the vehicle suffered a blowout of an "abnormally old" tyre.

The Merseypride Travel coach was returning from the event when it came off the carriageway just before midnight and collided with a tree, also injuring dozens more young Merseyside music fans.

Coroner Richard Travers, sitting at Woking's civic offices, heard forensic accident investigator David Price explain that the blowout was likely to have been caused by the age of the tyre.

Mr Price said the front nearside tyre on the six-wheel coach was around 19-and-a-half-years old.

He added that while tyres do deteriorate over time, ageing is not always accompanied by obvious signs.

"When the tyre has burst it is likely to have caused the coach to veer sharply to the left. The tyre appeared to have burst only a short distance from where it (the coach) left the road and collided with the trees.

"The tread had started delaminating at some stage long before the accident occurred.

The tyre was abnormally old."

Statements from passengers on board the coach when it crashed described hearing a loud bang.

One male passenger said: "We left the road and bounced across the embankment. It seemed like we were bouncing for quite a while and then there was an almighty bang, when we hit the tree."

A female passenger in her statement said: "Just as I was drifting off to sleep I awoke to a sort of popping sound, the coach started to wobble and moved from side to side. There was a loud bang and the coach came to a halt."

The latter passenger suffered a dislocated hip, a broken nose and a damaged cruciate ligament.

Mr Price was asked by Surrey Police to complete a report following the accident.

"If you burst a tyre you get a noise," said Mr Price. "It doesn't tend to be a massive noise, but you certainly do hear it.

"It seems probable the burst had happened and caused the coach to mount the nearby verge. The driver is likely to have [had] very little advance warning apart from severe vibrations to the tyre."

Mr Price said there was also a large dent in the wheel, most likely caused when the tyre and wheel struck a large tree trunk.

The inquest continues.

WITNESSES ON A3 HEARD 'LOUD BANG' WITNESSES to the Bestival coach crash heard a "loud explosion" when it veered off the A3 and crashed into a tree last September.

The first day of the inquest was told all three of the victims suffered multiple injuries and trauma.

The inquest heard witness accounts of what happened before and after the collision.

Motorists on the same stretch of the A3 at the time the crash occurred said it was pitch black.

Thomas Hughes, travelling in a 4x4 behind the coach, said: "It was a terribly dark night, pitch black. There were a few lights on the way out of the tunnel but then [it was] very, very black. I was in the right-hand lane and could see the coach in the left-hand lane.

"As I was going past he crept into my lane slightly. Just as I got past him there was a very loud explosion and my car veered.

"I looked in my left-hand mirror.

"The coach wasn't there which I could not understand."

Craig Nugent called the emergency services after the crash.

He had been travelling behind the coach and said there was nothing unusual about the way it had been driven.

He said he found it difficult to adjust when travelling from the well-lit Hindhead Tunnel into the darkness outside.

He said: "It (the carriageway) was poorly lit."

CAPTION(S):

MUSICIAN: Michael Molloy

GRADUATE: Kerry Ogden

DRIVER: Colin Daulby SMASHED: The coach involved in the crash on the return from the Isle of Wight: Picture: STEVE PARSONS
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 16, 2013
Words:720
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