Faulty speedo readings may have led to fatal crash on A413 in Northamptonshire, inquest hears

The A413 north of Silverstone, close to the scene of the crash
The A413 north of Silverstone, close to the scene of the crash

An upgraded gear box leading to a speedometer giving inaccurate readings may have lead to a fatal crash on the A413 last year, an inquest heard.

Jason Lynch, aged 30, from Whitfield near Brackley, died on September 2 last year after the car he was driving crashed on the A413 just north of Silverstone.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the assistant coroner for Northamptonshire Hassan Shah heard that at the time of the crash Jason’s green Rover Metro had no MOT, that the suspension had been altered and a more powerful engine and gearbox had been installed.

But upon questioning John Underwood, from Northants Police’s serious collision investigation unit, said the changes to the suspension and engine power were unlikely to have contributed to the crash, and although without an MOT, the car had no faults that would have led to the incident.

Mr Underwood did say that there was a possibility the speedometer had not been calibrated to the replaced gearbox and may have been giving false readings.

The inquest heard from another driver who was passed by what is believed to be Jason’s car around 30 minutes before the crash. He estimated the speed of the Metro to be around 100 mph.

Jason, who was disqualified from driving at the time, drove into Silverstone and picked up his brother Jamie, before driving out the village north towards Towcester on the A413. As he passed the turning to the Moulton College campus he lost control of the vehicle.

Jamie said: “We hit a small bump at 50mph and the back end of the car stepped out.”

Asked about the speed by the coroner, Jamie said: “I know because I looked over to Jason and the speedo before the crash and it said 50mph. If it said anything different I would say now as it makes no difference to what happened.”

The rear of the car swung out to the right, and the vehicle started to travel sideways across the road. It hit the verge and then the hedge and trees. It then flipped onto its roof and bonnet and slid back across the road before coming to a stop.

Jamie, who had been wearing a seat belt was knocked unconscious and was taken to hospital. Jason, who had not been wearing his seat belt, was thrown out of the vehicle and died instantly from a head wound.

Mr Underwood said the amount of damage to the vehicle was consistent with it travelling over the 60mph limit, but could not be more precise.

He added that although Jason had been using cannabis before the crash, it was hard to say to what extent, if any, it affected his ability to drive.

Mr Shah said: “Jason picked up his brother around 7.15pm and headed towards Towcester. As they rounded the bend the vehicle quickly went out of control.

“Jason had been ejected from the vehicle and suffered catastrophic injuries.

“I have no forensic evidence regarding the speed of the vehicle. One witness says it passed him at 100mph a while before the crash; Jamie says he saw it at 50mph. And I have heard evidence that the speedo may not have given an accurate reading.

“The only thing I can say is the extent of the damage and that Jason was thrown from the vehicle all point towards a speed that was probably in excess of 60mph.

“There was cannabis in Jason’s system, however it is difficult to say if that was a contributing factor as there are too many variables.

“For the purpose of the record I conclude that Jason Lynch died as a result of a road traffic collision.

“I offer my very sincere condolences to his family and friends.”