Drink-driver died after car ploughed into tree

RTA Upper Park Road, Hastings. 25/8/11
RTA Upper Park Road, Hastings. 25/8/11

A DRINK-DRIVER died after the car he was driving ploughed into a tree.

William Hamer, 26, of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards was behind the wheel of his girlfriend’s white Saab and more than twice the legal drink-drive limit when the accident happened.

The couple had argued a couple of hours earlier and decided to head to Bournemouth in Dorset when tragedy struck.

Mr Hamer’s girlfriend, Katie Nicholls, suffered a broken pelvis and had to undergo surgery in hospital after the car landed on its roof.

An inquest into Mr Hamer’s death, which happened on August 25 last year, heard that the carpenter held only a provisional driving licence. Mr Hamer also had 175 millilitres of alcohol in his blood. The legal drink-drive limit is 80.

Ms Nicholls, of Whitefriars Road, said she and her boyfriend spent most of the previous day together driving around and visiting friends.

She said: “We were out drinking in pubs until 11pm and I walked home on my own after we had a row.He later came to my place. I had calmed down and everything was back to normal. But for some reason we decided to go to Bournemouth.

“The music in the car was on quite loud. Billy seemed to drive straight on at the left hand bend. We hit the kerb on the other side of the road.

“In my opinion he failed to see the bend and drove on straight across the road. It was quite dark.”

The inquest heard that Mr Hamer was driving at 34mph, slightly above the 30mph speed limit just before he lost control of the Saab in Upper Park Road just after 2.20am. The car hit a mature tree by the children’s playground.

Nicholas Forster, who was fishing at Harmer’s Lake in Alexandra Park, heard the crash.

He said: “I heard the car coming down the road travelling towards the town centre and immediately thought it was travelling too fast. I then heard a screech of tyres then a number of loud bangs. I then called an ambulance.”

Mr Hamer died shortly after arriving at the Conquest Hospital by ambulance. Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of death by road traffic accident.