Biker travelled ‘at least’ 70mph before fatal Clayhall crash, inquest hears
PUBLISHED: 17:30 01 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:30 01 April 2016
A biker and his teenage passenger were travelling almost double the speed limit in the lead up to their “tragic” deaths, an inquest has heard.
Software engineering student Justas Pranckunas, 20, of Denham Way, Barking, took 16-year-old Redas Dainys, of Caterham Avenue, Clayhall, for a ride on his Yamaha R6 motorbike after they met at a party on Saturday, April 18, last year.
The teenager, “a big fan of motorbikes” joined the birthday celebrations at his neighbours’ home after seeing “a number” of motorbikes outside, according to a statement from his stepdad Arturas Kutaitis.
The pair were soon travelling in Woodford Avenue, Clayhall, “at speeds of at least 70mph” in the 40mph-restricted road before they crashed into a 55-year-old pedestrian, who was crossing at a traffic light at about 5.30pm.
The man, who crossed when the lights were still green for oncoming traffic, had to have his right leg amputated following the incident.
In a statement, which was read out in court, he said he thought the signal for pedestrians was green.
Giving evidence at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court yesterday, collision investigator Pc John Hallmark said the lights were in “full working order”.
He added: “It’s likely he [the pedestrian] would have cleared the crossing if they [on the motorcycle] had been at the speed limit.”
Justas and Redas crashed into a bus shelter 82m away from the point of impact with the pedestrian after mounting a curb.
The Yamaha was found 163m away from where the pedestrian was hit.
Both of them were pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Kutaitis said: “They were wearing full protective clothing [when he saw them leaving] – it gave me a bad feeling because I thought they intended to go fast.
“I assumed he returned to be with the party – three hours later, the police turned up to deliver the terrible news.
“He was a lovely boy, everyone loved him he and had a bright future ahead of him – he wanted to be a fitness trainer.
“He was like a best friend to me, he was a good boy.”
Justas’ mum Virginija Pranckunas, 39, told the court her son was an “experienced” rider who had been using mopeds and motorcycles since he was 16.
“He was driving for about five years, he had good experience,” she said. “He was driving perfect, he was driving everyday.”
Senior coroner Nadia Persaud confirmed the cause of death for both Justas and Redas as multiple injuries before concluding that the deaths were as a result of an accident.
“I would like to pass on the sympathies of the court. It is an extremely tragic case,” she said.
She also said she would be writing to Redbridge Council following residents’ concerns about the crossing.
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