Wakeboarder death on Spine Road still unresolved
THE reasons for the death of a popular South Cerney wakeboarder remained unclear at an inquest at Gloucester Coroners court this week.
Max Hartshorne, 24, was walking along the B4696 Spine Road close to the crossroads with Broadway Lane and Wickwater Lane at around 12.30am on Sunday August 18,2012 when he was killed.
But assistant deputy coroner Katy Skerrett said no one could be certain whether Max had been hit by one car or several vehicles.
It was revealed at the inquest that Mark Nichols of Oaksey ran over Max in his BMW, before colliding with a tree by the side of the road.
He said that he saw Max’s body lying in the middle of his side of the road at the last minute and was unable to avoid him.
Mr Hartshorne had been out drinking the evening of his death with friends Joshua Summerfield and Samuel Miller. The post-mortem revealed he had 265mg of alcohol in his blood per 100ml, which would have made him three times over the drink drive limit.
The three were walking in a single file on their way to the Cotswold Ski Club, which is near the crossroads on Sunday August 26.
The group were having a three-way mobile phone conversation with a friend on loudspeaker as they approached the junction.
Mr Summerfield said during this conversation Max walked ahead of the group.
At this point Mr Summerfield said he saw three cars in road ahead swerve and heard two thuds.
He then checked to see if his two friends were okay and noticed Max was gone.
Mr Nichols told the inquest that he saw two people trying to wave him down at the side of the road at the last minute and had to swerve to avoid them, before hitting Max immediately after.
Dr Rick James, who carried out the post-mortem, said Max had multiple injuries but that it was impossible to say whether Max had been hit by a car while walking, or whether he had been run over.
Coroner Kate Skerrit recorded an open verdict on Max’s death, saying it was unclear how he died.
She said: “It is more probable than not that he was run over. It is also clear that it is more probable that more than two cars were involved.
“I think in my judgement that it is more than probable that in his intoxicated state he somehow fell and was unable to get up and was ran over and then hit by another vehicle. It remains a mystery that there was at least one other vehicle.
“Because of the unexplained amount of vehicles involved I cannot be satisfied that it was an accident.”