Teenager's death in crash ruled 'accidental'
The teenage son of a councillor died after a high-speed crash in his sports car on his way home from the pub, an inquest heard.
Thomas Chubb, 18, was killed after his black Porsche 944 Turbo collided with a Peugeot van which had pulled out of a minor road onto the northbound lane of the A358 road towards Axminster.
The youngster, who had drunk a pint of cider with friends at the Bottle Inn at Marshwood, was taking the car out for a final drive before taking it off the road to repair and possibly sell it.
He was travelling in the opposite direction when he veered across the carriageway and crashed near Musbury.
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A witness described how he was "recklessly" overtaken by the powerful car, which he estimated was travelling at 80mph just moments before it crashed, lifting into the air and spinning almost full circle on impact.
Andrew Saunders told the hearing yesterday that Mr Chubb "left me for dust" in his red Mercedes Vito van on the unlit country road in light rain, on October 31 last year.
Moments later he said he saw the Porsche brake lights come on before it smashed into a van which had pulled out from his left. "The Porsche was travelling too fast to stop in time," he added.
The couple in the van Chubb crashed into were not at the hearing but said in statements they were emerging from a single lane farm track after attending a Halloween party.
Driver Peter Greenslade, 44, and his partner Claire Reid, who had only had soft drinks, said the road was clear to turn right on to the main A358, at around 10.15pm.
But Mr Greenslade said: "Suddenly I saw a bright pair of headlights approaching in the opposite direction which seemed to be coming down the middle of the road.
"The next thing I knew there was an almighty crash and our vehicle was shunted back, bouncing around violently."
Police investigator Michael Lackey said gouges and scrapes on the road surface suggested the Porsche "had not been on the correct side of the road" when it struck the van. MPC Lackey said Mr Chubb, whose father Iain Chubb is a Conservative East Devon district councillor, may have been "straightening out the curve" of the road. "Had the vehicle been travelling within the speed limit and on the right side of the road this tragic accident could have been avoided," he added.
The Greater Devon coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland recorded an accidental death verdict and said Mr Chubb, who died from "massive" head and chest injuries, had been "travelling at speed".