Fatal accident was unavoidable, coroner tells driver
A VAN driver was told there was nothing he could have done to avoid an accident that killed a father and his son in their car.
Richard Aylott tried to avoid a Peugeot that pulled out into his path but the two vehicles collided and John and Christopher Hocking died, an inquest heard.
Speaking at the inquest last Thursday, Coroner Rachel Redman said: “Mr Aylott did take avoiding action by moving to the central reservation but there was nothing he could do to avoid it.”
The two men died after their car, driven by ex-policeman Mr Hocking senior, pulled out of an Esso garage onto tshe A20 Maidstone Road, Hothfield, at 5pm last New Year’s Eve.
Mr Aylott, of High Street, Charing, said he had been travelling towards London in a Volkswagen Transporter.
He told the inquest: “I assumed he would let me pass. All of a sudden he was straight in front of us. I tried to steer away but it was so quick.”
Both Mr Aylott and one of his two passengers, fiancee Georgia Gethin, were hurt in the crash.
Accident investigator PC Terry Collins said CCTV had shown the Peugeot moving from the forecourt onto the road without braking.
He said: “I can only describe it as that he was pulling out of the forecourt as if no one was there.”
He said Mr Hocking senior would have been able to see the approaching van and was “completely at a loss” to explain why he had done it.
He said: “It must have been an error on the part of Mr Hocking.”
PC Collins said it had also been found that Mr Hocking senior had not been wearing his seat but and it could not be confirmed whether his son was wearing his.
Mr Aylott believed he had been travelling at 55mph, which reflected a police estimate.
The inquest heard that the national speed limit for that road and that type of van was 50mph but that had not been raised as a factor in the accident.
A post mortem showed that Mr Hocking senior had no alcohol in his blood and neither vehicle had defects that would have contributed to the crash.
Both victims died from multiple injuries.
Mr Hocking senior, 76, of Maidstone Road, Hothfield, died at the scene and Mr Hocking, junior, 50 of New Rents, Ashford, died later at Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital.
Mrs Redman recorded an accidental death verdict for both men.
The scene of the fatal accident on the A20 near Hothfield