A promising rugby player was killed in a freak accident when the golf buggy he was in plunged 30ft down an embankment after hitting a speed bump, an inquest has heard.
Jack Segust, 21, had been in the vehicle with his younger brother Glenn, 19, which was being driven by their friend Jack Thomas, 20, at their local golf course.
But it suddenly careered down an embankment and cannoned into a tree at the bottom of the slope – leaving Jack with horrific head injuries.
Emergency crews rushed to Herefordshire Golf Club in Wormsley at around 7pm on Saturday, August 4 last year, shortly after the accident and airlifted Jack to hospital.
He tragically passed away from his injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham shortly after.
Glenn and Jack Thomas were also treated for minor injuries but then discharged.
An inquest on Monday heard the trio were travelling in the buggy towards the 11th fairway when they lost control after hitting a speed bump on the course.
Mr Thomas told Hereford Coroners Court: “The buggy picked up speed on the descent before hitting a speed bump.
“I put the brake on and as I hit the bump it veered to the left and skidded off through the grass before coming to rest on its side.”
He added that he knew the buggy was only supposed to take two people but “did not think” the extra passenger would be dangerous.
In a written statement, Jack’s brother Glenn added: “Me and Jack were telling Jack [Mr Thomas] to brake.
“He said he was but nothing happened.
“We then began to skid and hit a speed bump.
“We went down through the trees. I shut my eyes and was then on the floor out of the buggy. I rang 999.”
Police investigators told the inquest a maximum gradient which buggies should be driven was 14 degrees – compared with 13 degrees where the fatal crash happened.
Collision investigator Alan Paton said the buggy would have gone into a rear wheel lock, but added the tragedy could have been prevented if the vehicle had front brakes.
He said the safest way to negotiate the drop was to “feather” both the accelerator and brake pedals adding this technique would have been “totally alien” to inexperienced drivers.
An investigation was launched at the golf club which was cleared of any wrong doing but a list of recommendations has been drafted by environmental health officer Catherine Healey of Herefordshire Council which has been sent to every club in Britain.
They include erecting warning signs near steep embankments on courses and more rigorous risk assessments on players renting buggies.
Pathologist Dr Keith McCarthy said the cause of Jack’s death was traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage and cervical vertebral fracture (corr).
Jack had just completed his second year studying Civil Engineering at Portsmouth University and was described as a “fitness fanatic”.
He played for Ledbury Rugby Club’s 1st XV team and Barestree Cricket Club.
Herefordshire deputy coroner Roland Wooderson recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Verdict: Accidental death.
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