Dad cradled dying son at the roadside

PUBLISHED: 15:05 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:42 12 August 2010

A FATHER tearfully told an inquest how his son died in his arms minutes after being struck by a speeding driver. Eltham College student Alex Ludlow, 16,

A FATHER tearfully told an inquest how his son died in his arms minutes after being struck by a speeding driver.

Eltham College student Alex Ludlow, 16, got off a 314 bus near his house on Elmstead Lane, Chislehurst, before crossing in front of it and being hit by a car.

He was hurled in to the air and hit some railings before landing 24 metres down the road where he suffered a fatal skull fracture.

Father Roger Ludlow told an inquest at Croydon Coroners Court last Thursdayhow his son was on his way home from a rugby match when the accident happened on September 22 last year.

He said: "I was expecting him home and was in the driveway at the front at around 5pm when I saw him on the bus. Then I heard a loud impact and realised that the car had hit Alex. I shouted his name and ran out in to the driveway.

"He was lying on the pavement with his head towards me so I picked him up and cradled him in my arms. He was unconscious at the time.

"A passer-by suggested that I lay him down because he had a head injury so we put him in the recovery position. At one point he tried to get up, I didn't know if he could hear me.

"It felt like a long time before the paramedics arrived. They asked us if he was breathing, we said yes but they told us he wasn't. There was no reaction to the CPR. After a short time they covered him."

A statement from bus driver Kuntay Halil said: "I saw a boy get off and as I shut the doors I looked in the left hand side mirror. He walked in front of the bus. I thought 'that's a silly place to cross'.

"Then I heard an almighty bang, it really made me jump. I sent a code red and called an ambulance. The car driver got out and I said to him 'you were going some fu**ing speed weren't you?' I was livid with him.

"I remained near the bus as there was little I could do. I heard a woman shouting 'don't die Alex, don't die'."

Police calculated driver David Chapple was going between 39mph and 44mph on the 30mph road.

But police constable John Carter said even if he had been driving at 20mph there was 'insufficient time and distance' to stop in time.

He said: "But if he had been driving at that speed, we may have a very different result."

Mr Chapple was in court but referred to a statement for evidence. It read: "I overtook the bus and a boy ran out. It happened in an instant. It has been and remains so traumatic for me."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Dr Roy Palmer said: "We shall never know if the speed had been different whether the outcome had been different.

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