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Man killed in car crash could have been saved by seatbelt, inquest hears

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: July 06, 2012

Christopher Treglown

Christopher Treglown

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A MAN who was killed when he was thrown from the window of his car in a crash may have survived if he had worn his seatbelt, an inquest has heard.

Christopher Treglown, who had a promising theatrical career ahead of him, died in the single-vehicle accident on the B3312 road, near Gunvenna, on January 15.

An inquest into his death, held at Truro on Tuesday, heard how the 23-year-old was found by a passing motorist.

The inquest was told how a slow puncture in the front nearside tyre of his Volkswagen Polo caused the car to become unstable as it approached a right-hand bend.

The vehicle dug into a soft bank, halted and then rolled. The force of the accident is believed to have thrown Mr Treglown out of a side window before the car rolled over on top of him.

Speaking after the inquest, his parents urged all drivers to wear their seatbelts at all times.

He had been travelling back alone from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and was less than a mile away from his home.

Best friend David Rotherham told the inquest that Mr Treglown would “never, ever wear his seatbelt” but was otherwise a “perfectly safe driver”.

He said: “He was particular about his clothing so he would not want to wear it [seatbelt]. The only time he would wear one was when he was in another car and he was asked to but he was not happy about it.”

He said he would often plead with his friend to wear his seatbelt as he had been in two crashes as a passenger himself where it had saved his life.

Forensic vehicle examiner, Geoffrey Chapman, based at Bodmin, said the tyre pressure in the front nearside tyre should have been 32 pounds per square inch (PSI), but that it was only 19.5 PSI. He said the pressure would have been lost over time.

PC Philip Rowan-Smith, a forensic collision officer based in Exeter, said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Treglown had been wearing a seatbelt.

“The seatbelt was in a tight position,” he said. “The injuries are from the car going on top of him.

“If he had remained within the car, I cannot say his injuries would not have been sustained, but there was no intrusion in the car that is likely to cause significant impact.

“It greatly increases your chances of being ejected from a car without a seatbelt on.”

He said it was not possible to determine the speed of the vehicle.

Mr Treglown’s father, John, said he had seen the car after the accident and that “even the door was not damaged”.

“The reason we bought him the Polo was because they are well-made cars. As a parent all you want to do is keep your children safe.

“If he would not put it [seatbelt] on with me I would brake and say if you do not wear it you will go through the window.

“I find it really hard to think that had he had his seatbelt on he might have survived. We tried every way to keep him safe, it is just so difficult.”

He said his family were unaware that his son would not wear a seatbelt with friends. Otherwise they said he was a very sensible person who never smoked, drank alcohol or took drugs.

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Treglown’s severe head injuries had caused his death.

Coroner Barrie Van den Berg recorded a verdict of accidental death and expressed his deepest sympathies to the family.

He said he wanted to tell people to “wear your seatbelt”.

“It is a distinct possibility in this case that it could have made a difference,” he said.

After the inquest his mother, Julia, and father John said they would encourage drivers to wear their seatbelts.

“If it could save one life; the thought of stopping people having to go through what we have is paramount.”

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  • t_i_p  |  July 06 2012, 10:53AM

    If you have ever been stopped for not wearing your seatbelt and said to the police "have you got nothing better to do" realise that we might just be saving your life. A real tragic incident. RIP

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  • ArrowOfTruth  |  July 06 2012, 9:50AM

    It's really tragic that this seemingly charming young man has lost his life and my heartfelt commiserations go out to anyone who knew him. I was a bit shocked to discover though that, in this day and age, there are people who refuse point-blank to use a seatbelt as a matter of course, for pretty flimsy reasons too, and indeed that their freinds and acquantances let them off the hook about it. I'd like to think that anyone reading this who knows a driver like this will tell them to get over themselves and refuse to travel in a car with them unless they too wear their seatbelts. Then if someone's life is saved as a result, some good will have come out of an unnecessary tragedy.

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