A teenager who died from a severe brain injury after his motorcycle crashed with a stationary car was more than twice the drink-drive limit, an inquest heard.

James Dixon, 18, collided with a BMW 5 Series on Stockerley Lane, near Lanchester, in the early hours of Tuesday, October 4, last year.

Crook Coroners’ Court was told it is not known if Mr Dixon was wearing his helmet as it was found a distance away from the car he crashed into.

Mr Dixon was taken to the RVI in Newcastle with serious injuries but died later that day surrounded by his family.

The Northern Echo: Stockerley Lane, Lanchester, Durham. Picture: Google MapsStockerley Lane, Lanchester, Durham. Picture: Google Maps (Image: Google Maps)

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The inquest heard he bought the motorcycle a month earlier and was “buzzing” with excitement at the purchase.

Daniel Cluff, forensic collision investigator with Durham Constabulary, said: “Footage shows the BMW come into view, and it slows with brake lights illuminated and its left indicator on.

“The van, which was driven by a witness, was following the BMW overtakes the BMW, and then the motorcycle of James comes into shot with its headlight illuminated, and that’s when it shows the collision.”

Mr Cluff also said that the examination of the motorcycle was somewhat limited due to the damage caused by the collision.

The Northern Echo: James Dixon, an 18-year-old who crashed his motorcycle into a stationary car and died in October 2022. Picture: Family pictureJames Dixon, an 18-year-old who crashed his motorcycle into a stationary car and died in October 2022. Picture: Family picture (Image: Family picture)

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He continued: “They can’t be ruled out as contributory factors that James was intoxicated and lacked experience riding a motorcycle on public roads.”

A toxicological report found that Mr Dixon had a blood alcohol level of 170mg in 100ml of blood, which was viewed as having a significant impact on his driving ability.

The drink drive limit in England is 70mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

The inquest heard Mr Dixon had gone out on his bike after a few hours of sleep, thinking the small hours would mean quiet roads.

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James Thompson, assistant coroner for County Durham and Darlington, asked if fatigue was also a contributory factor.

Mr Cluff said: “Definitely. Fatigue is a key contributor to reaction times.”

Mr Thompson asked how many seconds it usually takes the average alert driver/rider to react to hazards.

Mr Cluff replied: “A key number that we use as forensic collision investigators is 1.52 seconds for reaction time, so two to three seconds would be sufficient, for an alert driver.”

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The driver of the BMW was found to have no alcohol or drugs in his system.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death was brain death, severe traumatic brain injury, and cardiac arrest due to the road traffic collision.

Investigation of both vehicles involved showed no defects or failings that could be seen as contributory.

Mr Thompson said: “It appears James has gone out for a ride on his motorcycle, and for some reason, has stopped at the roadside, not far from the ultimate collision site.

“As he has done so, the driver of the BMW, has passed him and formed the opinion that he may well need some help.

“He has continued for some distance down the road and has correctly stopped.

“His vehicle was illuminated, and his intention, from an account given to the police, was that he intended to turn round to see if he could offer some assistance.

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“At this point, another vehicle, a van, overtakes the BMW. Again, we know from CCTV evidence, that it was carrying out a correct and proper manoeuvre and was properly illuminated.

“Some fraction of a second after that manoeuvre, James’ motorcycle collides with the rear of the BMW.”

Mr Thompson said that James’ death was caused by intoxication of alcohol, inexperience of riding his motorcycle on public roads, and fatigue.

The conclusion of the inquest was: road traffic collision.