A man has told how his father died after swerving a car to avoid a deer.
Nazrul Hoque was in a Toyota Avensis driven by Horsham man Terab Ali on the A264, near Faygate, when the car rolled across the road and hit a tree. He said the deer emerged from woods next to the opposite carriageway and ran across the road, stopping in the headlights of the car.
Mr Hoque told the inquest at Horsham Magistrates’ Court today: “He could not slow down quickly enough to miss the deer, so swerved to avoid it. After I regained consciousness I noticed the car was on its side. A few people helped me out. I called out to my father but he did not reply.”
Mr Ali, a 52-year-old chef, of Bethune Road, Horsham, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which happened at 9.40pm on August 17 last year. He had been travelling to pick up his daughter from Crawley.
Mr Hoque, who sustained cuts to his head and an arm, described his father as “a very good driver” who “abided by all speed limits and was very careful”. He said Mr Ali had been driving locally for about 30 years, was familiar with the road and had never previously come across wildlife problems there.
In a statement read to the court, Victoria Burgess said she was driving in the opposite direction, back to Horsham, when she saw the car twist in the air, hit the ground about 30m in front of her, bounce off the road and hit a tree. Two passengers in her car helped Mr Hoque out of the Toyota and he was taken to East Surrey Hospital, Redhill.
Crash investigator PC Andy Slark said there was no street lighting in the area and it was a clear, dry night. He said the car’s headlights had been on, both people in the car had been wearing seatbelts and the airbags had not been deployed.
PC Slark said it was impossible to say how fast the Toyota had been travelling but there were no noticeable defects or issues with the vehicle or the road surface.
The inquest also heard about a non-fatal incident involving a deer on the A264, 11 days after Mr Ali’s death.
A message received through www.the-resident.co.uk shortly after Mr Ali’s death said: “The dual carriageway should have fences all around to avoid fatal accidents. There are more and more deer in this part of Sussex and the newspapers are playing cool. I would ask West Sussex County Council to do something useful.”
Soon afterwards, a spokesman for the county council responded: “We have no particular concerns about deer on this road. However, there are wild deer throughout the whole of rural West Sussex. We would advise all motorists to take care and look out for deer, particularly during the hours of darkness.”
Coroner Christopher Wilkinson said he believed deer crossed the road too infrequently to require preventative measures. Recording a verdict of accidental death, caused by multiple head injuries, he said Mr Hoque might also have died if Mr Ali had not taken evasive action.