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'Motion camouflage' may have led to death

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

An inquest ruled that the cause of death for Caleb Hollow was road traffic collision. PZPM20121212A-001_X.JPG

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A "FIT and healthy" Hayle boy who died after colliding with a car may have seen the vehicle but failed to notice it was coming towards him, an inquest heard.

Schoolboy Caleb Michael Hollow was involved in a collision with a silver Audi A2 as he tried to catch the school bus on Loggans Road on Friday December 7, 2012.

An inquest in Truro on Tuesday, which recorded a verdict that he died as a result of a traffic collision, heard how motion camouflage could have contributed to the accident.

PC Phil Rowan-Smith, a collision investigator who examined the scene, said: "When a vehicle is a certain distance away and travelling at more than 25mph, it's very difficult for a child to see.

"I do believe motion camouflage does exist at that point. Caleb could have seen the vehicle but not realised it was moving towards him."

PC Rowan-Smith accepted this was just one possibility and it could not be ruled out that Caleb failed to look in that direction before crossing.

He told the inquest there was no evidence to suggest the vehicle was speeding and that the damage to the car was consistent with a pedestrian having moved into the side of it.

Oliver Sims, who was driving the car, told the inquest he was not distracted as he drove his son to school and was travelling at less than 30mph when the incident happened.

Bozena Dawida was driving her granddaughter to school when they witnessed the collision.

She told the inquest: "[Caleb] looked excited, he was hopping around on one foot to the other. I think he was worried about missing the bus.

"I remember his face looking at me – I don't think he looked right again."

The Bodriggy Academy pupil was airlifted to Royal Cornwall Hospital then transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol with a serious head injury.

His parents took the decision to switch off his life-support machine on December 13.

The spot where Caleb was trying to cross was regularly used by children catching the school bus.

Since his death, Caleb's mother, Dawn Chapman, has campaigned to have safety measures improved there.

An island has been created for pedestrians to cross one lane at a time and the bus stop has been removed, meaning buses have to stop traffic when they are picking people up.

The school bus no longer collects children on the road, but turns into the estate. Mrs Chapman said more could still be done to improve safety.

Cornwall Deputy Coroner Barrie van den Berg said: "It's absolutely devastating to lose a child. It's something you never expect.

"Caleb was a fit and healthy boy. It's just not part of the natural way it should be."

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