‘It happened so fast’ says fatal crash witness

Oliver Bird was an experienced motorcyclist SUS-140304-115115003
Oliver Bird was an experienced motorcyclist SUS-140304-115115003

THE MOTHER of a Shoreham Beach man who was killed in a road traffic collision on the A29, Bury Hill, thanked a witness for staying with him during his final minutes.

Oliver Bird’s family attended his inquest on Wednesday to hear the ‘tragic’ events that led to the 37-year-old’s death on mothering Sunday (March 30).

Witness Marie Etherington said she had been replaying the incident in her head over and over again.

In a statement read out by assistant coroner Joseph Turner, she described the moment Mr Bird’s motorcycle was involved in a collision with a silver Audi, driven by Jill Marcuson of Pulborough.

Travelling in a car behind Mrs Marcuson, Mrs Etherington said she saw Mr Bird driving in the wrong lane, northbound, as he attempted to overtake a few other motorcyclists.

She said: “I remember thinking to myself why is he on the wrong side of the road.

“I watched as the motorcycle ploughed hard into an Audi. There was a plume of dust. It happened so fast, it was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen,” she added.

Mrs Etherington continued to say that she stayed with Mr Bird whilst her daughter called for an ambulance.

Sobbing, mother of Mr Bird, Maria, said “Thank you for staying with him.”

Mrs Etherington’s husband Roy, who was driving their car, said that the incident took place just after a ‘deceiving bend’ in the road.

He said: “He was accelerating to get passed the traffic. He was either going to hit the car in front or us.

“It looked like he tried to lay the bike down to stop hitting the car

“It’s a bad bend. It was so quick and there was not a lot people could do.”

Forensic investigator Julian Taylor attended the scene shortly after the incident.

He said it was a bright, clear day and the road surface had no problems. There were also no technical defects with the Kawasaki motorcycle.

Mrs Marcuson, who was driving the Audi, said there was nothing she could do to avoid the collision.

“He was very much on my side of the road. I’ve been over it a thousand times since and I can’t think of anything I could have done,” she said.

Following the collision, Mrs Marcuson’s car careered into the front garden of a neighbouring cottage and suffered minor injuries.

Mr Turner ruled that Mr Bird died of multiple injuries, which included a huge haemorrhage around the brain. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

He called the incident a ‘tragic situation’.

Mr Bird’s father and two brothers were also present at the inquest.