Senior coroner urges schools to educate children on road safety following tragic death of loving Thomas

Floral tributes at the scene where Thomas Easton was fatally injured.Floral tributes at the scene where Thomas Easton was fatally injured.
Floral tributes at the scene where Thomas Easton was fatally injured.
A coroner has called for schools across Yorkshire to educate children on the importance of road safety and to keep it at the "forefront of student's minds" after the death of a 13-year-old boy.

Thomas Easton, from Leeds, was hit by a car when he walked out in front of a First bus in Wide Lane, Morley, on the afternoon of September 19 last year.

An inquest held today heard how his mother, Joanne Easton, battled to keep her son alive by giving him CPR at the scene, before he was taken to Leeds Children’s Hospital.

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He died from a severe brain injury several days later on September 25.

Senior Coroner Kevin McLoughlin said: “This poor little lad and his family have paid a horrendous price for what may have been a bad judgement.

“I want to encourage schools to raise awareness and educate about road safety and keep such matters at the forefront of students’ minds.

“I am conscious that we are at the start of a new academic year where all schools could refresh road safety for all their students.

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“Whatever can be done to bring home the importance of road safety would be welcome.

“I would also encourage students to speak up to their friends if they see them taking risks as well. I do not want to see another child lose their life having seen this awful scenario.”

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The inquest at Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard how Thomas and his friend had caught the number 65 First bus from the White Rose Shopping Centre to take them back home to Morley.

The pair had got off the bus at a bus stop on Wide Lane, when Thomas stepped out in front of the single-decker and was hit by a Nissan Vivara car which was overtaking the bus.

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The driver of the Nissan, Kevin Haran, said: “”As I was overtaking the bus for a split second I saw something out of the corner of my eye, it was the bus driver’s hand movement and then I collided with Thomas.

“At the time I knew I had collided with something but I didn’t know what it was. It happened in a split second.

“Then I saw in the mirror it was a child. I got out of my car and dialled 999. There was nothing I could have done to avoid the collision.”

Mr Haran gave a negative roadside breath test for both alcohol and drugs at the scene.

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Vehicle collision investigator Nicholas Smith said there was no mechanical defect on the Nissan which would have contributed to or caused the accident.

He described how there was minor damage to the Nissan which showed the impact of the crash with Thomas was “very slow”. Mr Smith said investigations showed Mr Haran was travelling at about 15mph at the time of the crash. The speed limit on Wide Lane is 30mph.

Mr Smith said: “It was just terrible juxtaposition between Tom emerging and the driver. It was just a terrible accident.”

The inquest heard that no highway factors had contributed to the collision, and West Yorkshire Police Sergeant Carl Quinn said Mr Haran’s actions were appropriate and that he did not feel any “criminal culpability” had existed.

Sgt Quinn said: “This is an extremely tragic case.”

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Mr McLoughlin ruled Thomas’s death was due to an “exceptionally sad road traffic accident”.

Thomas’s family described him as “loving and considerate”, and his mother added: “He is missed dearly by everyone in his family every single day.”

The teenager was a student at Morley Academy and had a keen interest in engineering.