MUM AND SON DIED AFTER HEAD-ON CRASH
DRIVER HAD BEEN SENDING TEXTS AROUND THE TIME OF COLLISION WITH LORRY, INQUEST HEARS
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