A1 West Yorkshire: Call for checks after University teenage driver dies in torrential rain

Tom Burrow.
Tom Burrow.
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A coroner has called on highways chiefs to investigate drainage on a section of the A1 in West Yorkshire after hearing a teenager’s Land Rover may have aquaplaned in torrential rain before a fatal crash.

University student Thomas Burrow, 19, lost control of his Land Rover Defender on the southbound carriageway of the A1, close to the Wentbridge viaduct near junction 40, just after 8.30pm on Friday, May 11.

The Land Rover struck the trailer of a HGV, which was parked in a lay-by at the side of the road, before rolling down a banking and into a field.

Thomas was ejected from the vehicle and suffered multiple injuries, an inquest in Wakefield heard yesterday.

The former Wakefield Silcoates School student was transported to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, where he died of his injuries the following day.

Thomas – who lived at Pear Tree Farm at Wentbridge – was returning home after visiting a nearby farm to collect a bale of hay for his sister Becky’s horse when tragedy struck.

Thomas’s friend Andrew Fradgely was the front seat passenger in the Land Rover.

He told the court: “As we approached the lay-by where the accident happened, we just aquaplaned and headed towards the rear end of the lorry.”

West Yorkshire Police accident investigator Stephen Green said: “We can’t be conclusive about what happened in the collision. I can’t positively say that aquaplaning occurred. Equally, I can’t dispute that aquaplaning occurred.”

Thomas’s father Simon Burrow told the court: “We use that section of road on a daily basis and it does stand water prior to the lay-by and sometimes it is significant.”

Closing the inquest and recording a verdict of accidental death, West Yorkshire deputy coroner Melanie Wiliamson said: “The most reasonable explanation is that there was an aquaplaning situation.”

She added: “I do hope that if there is water and it is known to stand on a particular stretch of road, that the necessary authorities will look in to that.”

Thomas was studying forest and woodland management at the University of Cumbria and planned to run his own forestry company in the future.

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