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Death crash at Congham happened in heavy rain, inquest told

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Heavy rain may have played a part in a crash on the A148 at Congham on September 23 last year in which a 50-year-old man died.

An inquest today (Friday) at Norwich Coroners' Court before Norfolk's assistant coroner Simon Milburn heard that Jonathan Hoey died when his Ford Mustang convertible veered across the road and plunged down banking, hitting trees and bursting into flames.

Mr Hoey, a caravan dealer from Sutton St James, Lincolnshire, was dragged from the burning vehicle by other drivers but never regained consciousness and died from multiple injuries.

Norwich Coroner's Court. (45548679)
Norwich Coroner's Court. (45548679)

A front-seat passenger in the vehicle escaped with just minor injuries despite the fact that a tree had fallen across both front seats.

Evidence read by Mr Milburn said that Mr Hoey's green car had been seen driving towards Lynn at high speed and overtaking other cars just before the crash. But immediately before it left the road it was in a line of traffic travelling at about 45mph.

Police crash investigators said they think Mr Hoey had intended to overtake again but the lost control of the vehicle, shooting across the road, down a steep bank and into woodland. A tree had ended up lying across both front seats and the engine had burst into flames.

There was no drink or drugs in Mr Hoey's system and no mechanical or tyre problems with the Mustang, the inquest heard.

Mr Hoey, originally from Newry in Northern Ireland, sustained multiple injuries including skull fractures. Mr Milburn told Mr Hoey's wife Alice that the evidence was that her husband "suffered very little" as rescuers hurrying to the vehicle found he was unresponsive as they attempted CPR.

The exact cause of the crash remains unclear, police said, but witness statements from other drivers said that when the accident happened shortly before 5.30pm there was heavy rain and conditions were difficult.

Mrs Hoey told the coroner that her husband was "an extremely good driver who had other high-performance vehicles".

Mr Milburn gave a narrative verdict saying that Mr Hoey died as the result of a road traffic accident.

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