A driver died after he lost control of his car at high speed and ploughed into trees as he TEXTED a friend inviting him for a pint, an inquest heard.
Tragic Jonathan Robert Harris, 22, was travelling “well above” the 60mph speed limit when his Renault Megane coupe swerved off a bend on July 30 this year.
An inquest heard he had been texting his colleague and friend Matthew Andrews as he drove to meet him for a work night out.
His last text message, which was sent at 8.24pm, said: “Thanks mate, I owe you a pint or two.”
His bronze Renault was discovered upside down in a dyke on the A1175 in Market Deeping, Lincs., by a farm worker who was driving past at around 9.20pm.
An inquest heard Jonathan was “likely” to be on his mobile phone when he crashed and had “over steered” on the bend because he was distraced by the device.
In a statement read out at Boston Coroners Court, pal Matthew described Jonathan as a “happy go-lucky type of person”.
He added: “In the time I had known Jonny, I only drove in his car about three weeks ago and had no worries about his driving.”
The inquest heard Joe Howe was driving his tractor on the A1175 when he discovered Jonathan’s overturned Renault.
In a witness statement read out by the coroner, the farm worker said: “I became aware of a vehicle upside down in a dyke.
“I initially drove past it but then stopped and saw debris on the road.
“I went back to the vehicle and shouted ‘hello’ but had no response.
“I gave the door a good pull and saw a male.
“I checked for a pulse but could not find one.
“I rang an ambulance and waited for them to arrive.
“At the time, it was a clear evening, the road was clear and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.”The inquest heard Jonathan, who was from Stamford, Lincs., had no drugs or alcohol in his body when he crashed.
In a written statement which was read out, PC Mark Hamilton, from Lincolnshire Police, said: “It is evident he was sending text messages while driving but it is not known if he stopped to reply to those texts.”
The inquest, which was held on Friday (18/11), heard that Jonathan died at the scene of the crash due to chest injuries consistent with a road traffic collision.
Assistant Coroner for Central Lincolnshire Marianne Johnson recorded a conclusion of death as a result of a road traffic collision.
She also warned other motorists of the risks of using mobile phones while driving.
The coroner said: “We have had a lot of publicity about mobile phones.
“My message would be for people not to use their mobile phone while driving. Put them away and turn them off.
“Any slight distraction can cause a catastrophic accident. Mobile phones have no place being turned on in your car.”
Pals paid tribute to Jonathan and said he had a “heart of gold” after the crash in July this year.
Best friend Jake Beasley, who worked with Jonathan at Herbs in a Bottle in Essendine, Lincs., said: “I have known John for three years and it felt like a lifetime friendship.
“I met John at work and we became very close friends from the start, we had a lot of good times together and memories were made.
“John was a very caring person, who always picked you up if you were down.
“He had a heart of gold and you could always have a laugh with him. I am going to miss that iconic laugh.
“I can honestly say I feel like I’ve lost a brother. Rest well my dear friend.”
Friends also set up a JustGiving page to help with funeral costs which doubled its £2,000 target and raised £4,190.
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