Henry Evans: 'One in a million' teenager killed in Sheffield crash was in lorry driver’s blind spot

"He was 18 and thinking he was invincible, but he lived everyday like it was his last."
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A teengager was killed in a road traffic collision in Sheffield while driving an off-road motorbike after entering a lorry driver’s blind spot, an inquest heard (February 15).

The inquest, held at the Medico-Legal Centre, heard how 18-year-old Henry Evans was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision in Wincobank on January 20, 2023 after suffering a fatal head injury. 

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A toxicology report read out by assistant coroner Fiona Morrison found that Henry, from Kimberworth, Rotherham, was more than twice over the legal drink driving limit at the time of the crash.

Henry Evans died in a road traffic collision at age 18 after his off-road motorbike collided with a lorry in Sheffield.Henry Evans died in a road traffic collision at age 18 after his off-road motorbike collided with a lorry in Sheffield.
Henry Evans died in a road traffic collision at age 18 after his off-road motorbike collided with a lorry in Sheffield.

Ms Morrison read out a statement from the lorry driver, who was 19 at the time of the collision. It was heard how he was a qualified heavy goods vehicle driver and had received a lot of training and supervision before he was permitted to drive alone.

On the day of the accident it was a dark January morning and the driver had been stopped by a red traffic light at the junction of  Ecclesfield Road, Barrow Road and Fife Street in Wincobank. As it turned green, he checked his mirrors and accelerated. But when other motorists began beeping their horns, he pulled over and was "extremely upset" when he realised what had happened. 

He had only been driving for 10 minutes when the collision occurred.

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PC Thorpe, of Sheffield’s road policing team, was part of the emergency response that morning, at around 7.30am.

Henry’s 85cc off-road motorbike was at the front of the lorry and had no vehicle registration plate, lights or indicators.

The lorry driver was arrested. A drug wipe at the time came up positive for drugs, but a blood sample taken at the police station came back with no substances in his system, meaning it was "clinically proved that he had nothing in his system that could have affected his driving", Mr Morrison said.

The fatal collision on January 20, 2022, happened at the junction of Ecclesfield Road, Barrow Road and Fife Street in the Wincobank area of Sheffield.The fatal collision on January 20, 2022, happened at the junction of Ecclesfield Road, Barrow Road and Fife Street in the Wincobank area of Sheffield.
The fatal collision on January 20, 2022, happened at the junction of Ecclesfield Road, Barrow Road and Fife Street in the Wincobank area of Sheffield.

CCTV footage examined as part of the police investigation found that Henry had overtaken the lorry past the driver’s side at the same time the traffic light turned green, colliding with the lorry as it accelerated. The height of the lorry's windows and noise of the vehicle meant the driver did not know Henry was there.

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PC Thorpe said the lorry driver was "not at fault for the collision", and that "it was impossible to see the bike".

Holly Bird, a forensic collision investigator, said that Henry had been wearing all black, including a black balaclava, and no helmet. She said: "It would have been difficult if not impossible to see the motorbike and the driver."

Friends and family members of both Henry and the lorry driver attended the inquest today. Henry was described as a "proper lad" who "loved his life and made a stupid mistake".

His friends and girlfriend said: "He was 18 and thinking he was invincible, but he lived everyday like it was his last."

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At the time of the accident, Rotherham United fans paid tribute to Henry, a lifelong fan of the club. Friends also released balloons and held firework displays in memory of the young man, described as "one in a million". 

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