South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - PHILIP DEWEY Re­porter philip.dewey@waleson­

A SON and mother were killed in a head-on col­li­sion with a lorry around the time he texted a woman he had been on a date with the night be­fore.

Mark Gol­ubovic, 32, and his mother Irene Martin, 63, died af­ter the col­li­sion on Llan­harry Road, in Pon­ty­clun, on May 6, in which the red Ford Ka driven by Mr Gol­ubovic swerved into the op­po­site car­riage­way.

Mr Gol­ubovic was pro­nounced dead at the scene and Ms Martin died at the Univer­sity Hospi­tal of Wales, in Cardiff, three days later af­ter re­main­ing in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

An in­quest held at Aber­dare Coroners’ Court yes­ter­day heard Mr Gol­ubovic was tex­ting a woman he had met the night be­fore at about the time the ac­ci­dent oc­curred.

A state­ment from David Loveys, the driver of the HGV was read out as he was not present at the hear­ing.

He said he had owned a haulier busi­ness since 1985 and was driv­ing a lorry con­tain­ing 190 tonnes of animal feed from a farm near Stroud to Llan­harry on the day of the ac­ci­dent.

He said: “It was about 8.30am and I was driv­ing in a gen­eral di­rec­tion at 30mph, traf­fic at the time was light and there was only a cou­ple of cars in front of me. There were good driv­ing con­di­tions.

“My at­ten­tion came to a red car about 300-400 yards ahead of me, it had come around the bend and along the straight sec­tion.

“The red car then veered over to the right side in what I would de­scribe as a de­lib­er­ate man­ner or an act to avoid some­thing in the road. The ve­hi­cle was now driv­ing to­wards me at least 30-40mph. I had lit­tle time to re­act and I thought it would move to the cor­rect side of the road.

“The red car kept com­ing to­wards me and I had no time to re­act and be­fore I knew it the car hit me. There was a loud bang and such a force which made me con­tinue for­wards and my steer­ing was not in my con­trol.”

The Ka was de­stroyed af­ter be­com­ing lodged un­der the lorry. It was de­scribed by se­nior coroner An­drew Barkley as a “hor­rific im­age”.

A state­ment from a num­ber of wit­nesses de­scribed the car driven by Mr Gol­ubovic as swerv­ing into the path of the HGV and one wit­ness said there was noth­ing Mr Loveys could do to pre­vent the col­li­sion.

A post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion found that Mr Gol­ubovic died as a re­sult of mul­ti­ple in­juries while Ms Martin died as a re­sult of poly­trauma.

A tox­i­col­ogy report found that al­co­hol was present in Mr Gol­ubovic’s blood and urine but this was be­low the le­gal limit.

A state­ment from Fern Rob­bins was read out to the court de­scrib­ing her re­la­tion­ship with Gol­ubovic.

She said she had met him for the first time in per­son the night be­fore his death af­ter they had been chat­ting on a dat­ing site.

They went for drinks in Porth­cawl be­fore re­turn­ing to Ms Rob­bins’ home in Brid­gend, where they walked to town and had more drinks.

Af­ter spend­ing the night at Ms Rob­bins’ home, Mr Gol­ubovic left at about 6.30am as he was pick­ing his daugh­ter up that day.

She said: “I re­ceived a text from Mark at 8.10am thank­ing me for an en­joy­able night. I went to McDon­ald’s for some food and we con­tin­ued to text each other. Mark text me at 8.29am say­ing, ‘thank you, lat­ers.’

“When I went home I checked my mo­bile and seen there had been a col­li­sion in Llan­harry. I had a strange feel­ing it could be Mark and I found out he had died af­ter check­ing his Face­book.

“I felt to­tally sick by this news and still can’t believe it. I wor­ried about the last mes­sage sent at 8.29am as the col­li­sion was around or near that time.”

Foren­sic col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor Lisa Mor­gan said Mr Gol­ubovic’s phone was ex­am­ined and it es­tab­lished that a num­ber of text mes­sages were sent or re­ceived at around 8.29am, just be­fore the col­li­sion.

She said: “The home is 0.6 miles away from the col­li­sion scene and we can’t pin it down to an ex­act minute when the texts were opened. I can’t say whether the text mes­sages were opened dur­ing or prior to the jour­ney.”

In his con­clu­sion, Mr Barkley said the most “at­trac­tive op­tion” open to him was that the texts played a sig­nif­i­cant part in the col­li­sion.

He said: “All of these in­ci­dents are hap­pen­ing or tak­ing place min­utes prior to the ac­ci­dent.

“That is cer­tainly a per­sua­sive and the most likely cause of what hap­pened here. There’s sim­ply no other ex­pla­na­tion as to why he lost con­trol.”

Mr Barkley con­cluded that Mr Gol­ubovic and Ms Martin died due to a road traf­fic col­li­sion.

Mark Gol­ubovic and his mother Irene Martin died after a col­li­sion on Llan­harry Road, Pon­ty­clun, in May

Flo­ral trib­utes left at the scene of the crash

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