‘We’ll never know why’
Staines & Ottershaw: We only have speculation why McLaren boys’ car went out of control, says coroner
TWO McLaren workers died after their speeding sports car went out of control in wet conditions and crashed, an inquest has heard. Oliver Bourton, 22, from Sutton, was killed when his blue Subaru Imprezza went sideways into an oncoming Ford Transit van on the A320 Guildford Road on January 29. His co-worker and friend, Darren Hayes, 19, from Staines, was taken to St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey but was pronounced dead on arrival at 12.54pm. Woking Coroner’s Court was told on Friday that the pair had left the Formula 1 team’s Woking base together. They were heading towards Ottershaw during their lunch break when Oliver, who was driving, lost control of his modified sports car at a speed of 64mph in a 50mph zone. No drugs or alcohol were detected in either man and both were wearing their seatbelts. Investigating officer PC Jo Robins told the court that although there was a puddle 35 metres wide in the road, she did not believe it contributed to the loss of control. “There’s some distance from that large puddle and where you see the loss of control on the CCTV,” she said. “We don’t know if he went through it at all. “Driving through standing water can cause problems, particularly at speed. Effectively, you are less likely to have problems with standing water if you are going much slower.” Fish van driver Terrence Webb, who sustained serious injuries during the accident, described seeing smoke from the car’s tyres. “As I approached the bend, I saw a Subaru coming towards me, fishtailing a bit and I could hear screeching brakes,” he said. “I was basically thinking what could I do? But there was nothing I could do. “It was fishtailing, coming sideways. It smacked in front of me, the air bag went off and that was it. “I was aware that road could flood so had slowed down to 40mph and I was pre-empting that puddle.” Assistant coroner Simon Wikens ruled that Oliver and Darren had died due to fatal injuries they suffered in a motor vehicle accident. “Oliver Bourton and Darren Hayes left McLaren, their place of work, at lunch time and proceeded along the A320 towards Ottershaw in a Subaru vehicle Oliver had owned for some time,” he outlined. “Although modified, I find Oliver would have been very familiar with the vehicle. I find the lane had indeed a standing body of water 35 metres by 3.5 metres and, at greatest, covered two-thirds of the lane. “After studying CCTV and the investigative report, it seems possible to drive around it or through it or partially through it. We are left in a position where there is no evidence as to what indeed the Subaru did at that point. “Whether Oliver drove through or not, whether he could have driven slowly through it or slowed and went through it – numerous claims we could make, but all would be speculation and this is not a court of speculation. What caused the loss of control we will never know. “On balance of probabilities, clearly the wet conditions would have contributed to the loss of control. I find the speed for the conditions and the road conditions were contributing factors leading to Oliver not being able to regain control of the motor vehicle.” A statement by Darren Hayes’ family said: “Darren was an amazing son and brother, with a wicked sense of humour. He was also extremely kind and thoughtful and was well thought of by most people who met him.
“His death has left a vast, gaping hole in our family which we will never get over. Darren had so much more to give, at McLaren Automotive and with his love of motorbike racing, both of which he enjoyed very much.” Oliver Bourton’s mother, Susan, told the court how it was always a pleasure to be his mother. “Oliver was a very loyal passionate person,” she said. “He loved his family, he was very caring and sensible and very grown up for his years. “I never had to worry about Oliver, ever. “He was the sensible one. Anyone going out, he would always be the one who was sensible.”
Darren Hayes: An amazing son and brother with a
wicked sense of humour, said his family.
Oliver Bourton: Inquest
was told of a loyal, passionate person who
loved his family.