DETECTIVES have taken the unusual step of issuing a fresh appeal for witnesses eight months after a teenager died in a horror head-on car smash.
A Chesterfield inquest heard that Dominic Yates, 19, died after his Citroen AX “inexplicably” swerved into the path of an oncoming Audi on the A619 Baslow Road, at Chander Hill, near Holymoorside.
Mechanic Dominic, of Walton – who was seen as a rising young talent in rally cross racing – was pronounced dead at Chesterfield Royal Hospital after he suffered multiple injuries in the crash on December 22 2010.
But despite an investigation into how the accident happened, Det Insp James Allen, of Derbyshire Police’s Collision Investigations Unit, said it was one of the few cases where police had been unable to determine why the vehicle crossed the white line.
He said Dominic’s car had no defects and was well-maintained and added that there were no signs of excessive speed.
Dominic had not been drinking or taking drugs, the weather was not an issue and he was wearing his seatbelt.
“Something happened around, in front or inside Dominic’s vehicle to cause him to go across the line,” he told the inquest.
“He lost his life in tragic circumstances and I would like to explain why that happened, but on this rare occasion, I can’t.”
Speaking afterwards, Det Insp Allen said he believed there was another vehicle “very close” to the cars at the time of the crash and appealed for witnesses to come forward.
He added: “I’m sure that driver has valuable information that could answer many unanswered questions in this tragedy.”
The inquest heard how Dominic was driving home from work at about 5.55pm when, without explanation, his car crossed the white line near Ladywood Garage and collided with the Audi, which was travelling towards Baslow in the second lane.
Dominic was thrown out of his car. The driver of the Audi, Neil Hanney, of Flagg, near Buxton, said he did not have time to swerve to avoid Dominic.
Deputy North Derbyshire Coroner Nigel Anderson recorded a verdict of accidental death.
In a joint statement released after the inquest, Dominic’s parents, Janice and Michael Yates, his girlfriend and her parents, said: “Dominic was an experienced and careful young driver who would not have driven recklessly or taken any risks that would have jeopardised his racing career.”
The family added: “It has been eight long months since the accident – and now we have to accept that we will never truly know why Dominic died last December.
“We believe that there has to be a valid reason why his car veered over the white line and into the path of the oncoming vehicle.”
The family added that Dominic was much-loved and a “careful, considerate young man”.
Witnesses should call police on 0345 123 3333 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.