'Amazing' Ethan, 16, died in crash with van, inquest hears

Touching tributes have been paid to Ethan Wright, 16, from Lowestoft. 

Ethan Wright was hailed as a "much-loved" and "amazing son and brother" - Credit: The Wright family

A "much-loved" 16-year-old died after crashing into a van while cycling in Lowestoft, an inquest heard.

Ethan Wright collided with the side of a VW Crafter after coming out of a bridleway onto Higher Driver at around 10.10am on November 17.

He was flown by air ambulance to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, but died the following day. 

police investigations Higher Drive Lowestoft

Emergency services were called to Higher Drive at around 10.10am on November 17, 2021 - Credit: Mick Howes

The teenager was unconscious from the moment of the impact, the inquest at Suffolk Coroner's Court heard on Thursday, July 21.

The inquest heard from the driver of the van, who said: "I was popping to my friend's house to collect some tools I had lent him.

"As I approached Woods Loke West I saw a sudden blur and someone coming out of the alley and into the side of my van without stopping.

"I heard a bang and think I managed to swerve a little and hit the brakes, stopping in the other side of the road as I jumped out to help.

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"I called 999 for an ambulance.

"I feel horrible. A poor lad has lost his life."

Police officers carried out drink and drug tests on the driver, both of which proved negative, while his mobile phone was seized and examined, with no evidence of use at the time of the crash.

Two witnesses to the crash also told the inquest the van was not speeding.

PC Dean Webb, forensic collision investigator for Suffolk Police, said Ethan collided with the front corner of the van, "not quite the front, but not quite the side."

He added: "It was awful timing all round. It doesn't seem like it is a busy road."

Mr Webb has submitted a Road Defect Notification (RDN) following his investigation into the crash, calling for Suffolk Highways to install measures to stop similar incidents in the future. 

He said: "The onus is on the cyclist to stop but I don't believe there is enough time to stop once you get a view of the road.

"I feel there could be something at the end of that bridal way to make it difficult for people to intentionally cycle out, or accidentally if their brakes failed, or say someone pushing a pram fell over and the pram continues to roll.

"I believe in this instance Highways are looking at it and are going to be doing something about it to make that junction between the bridleway and Higher Drive safer for everyone concerned to try and avoid something similar happening again."

Senior coroner Nigel Parsley concluded Ethan died as a result of a road traffic collision, but said he would complete a Prevention of Future Deaths report to be sent to Suffolk Highways to support Mr Webb's RDN.

Touching tributes have been paid to Ethan Wright, 16, following his death

Ethan Wright played more than 160 games across a number of age groups for Waveney FC. - Credit: Waveney FC/The Wright family

'An amazing son'

In a written statement, his mother Jenni Wright said: "Ethan was an amazing son and brother and was loved by so many.

"He would always put others before himself and would tell people, even if he didn't know them, to have a nice day. This made an impression on many.

"He loved his food and definitely had fine taste. He used to cost us a fortune when we went out for a meal but he was worth every penny."

She added the former Gunton Primary and Benjamin Britten Academy pupil passed his GCSEs "with flying colours," and was studying for his A Levels at Lowestoft Sixth Form College.

She also noted his "tremendous commitment and loyalty" to Waveney FC after playing more than 160 games across a number of age groups since joining in the 2011/12 season.

She said: "He was well liked, very polite and a fantastic friend.

"He was very happy, and a respected young person who was always very cheerful with a smile on his face.

"He was a joy to be around."