A TEENAGER suffered fatal head injuries when he stepped out in front of a car on an unlit road, an inquest has heard.

Tom Brown had spent the evening with his girlfriend and a group of friends at a popular hangout for teenagers on Wolviston Road on the outskirts of Billingham, near Stockton, when he was killed after colliding with a red Lexus car at about 10.45pm on April 1 last year.

The 16-year-old, year 11 student at St Michael's RC School, in Billingham, was taken to James Cook University Hospital but died the following morning.

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Teesside Coroners Court heard how the driver of the car was driving within the speed limit when the accident happened and would not have had time to react to the teenager entering the dual carriageway.

PC Darren Cawthorne, of the Durham and Cleveland Road Policing Unit, told the inquest that the teenager was seen to step out into the road without seeing the car.

The court heard the teenager, of Rievaulx Avenue, Billingham, had been drinking but was not drunk at the time of the accident.

Pathologist Jan Lowe's report showed that the teenager had suffered multiple injuries but it was the serious head injury that would have proved fatal.

Hartlepool Senior Coroner Malcolm Donnelly, currently undertaking the Assistant Coroner role on Teesside, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: "It's the call that every parent dreads, we can't wrap our children up in cotton wool. Nobody expected that anybody would be hurt let alone killed that night - it was literally a bolt from nowhere.

"It was an accident, I think the evidence has shown that there can't be any culpability attached to the driver."