A two-year-old boy died after opening a door and falling from a truck driven by his mother, an inquest heard yesterday.
Nathan Lowe was in the rear seat of a Mercedes Recovery truck, travelling at 35mph, when he opened the door and fell on to the road in the village of Marton, Cheshire.
The boy, not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene.
Cheshire Coroners' Court heard Nathan's mother, Claire Machin, was driving from the family farm in Harriseahead, Stoke-on-Trent, to collect carrots from market when the tragedy happened on March 16 this year.
Her brother 11-year-old Wayne Sallis and her friend, Michelle Thompson were sat on the front seat and Nathan had the rear bench seat to himself. Mrs Machin told the inquest that the family rarely used the rear door to the cab because it did not open from the outside and to open it from the inside required the handle to be lifted and a firm kick or shove given.
But on the day in question, the rear seat passenger would enter by the cab's front door and climb over the front seat.
" However, after the accident, police vehicle inspectors found that although the rear door was extremely stiff while the truck was stationary, it opened easily while the truck was moving due to vibration and the flexing of the cab structure.
Testing the handle at 15mph, PC David Bunnell said: "I lifted the handle and the door did not fly open, I touched it with my toe and it opened." The hidden danger meant that Nathan was able to open the door while the truck was moving, which he would not have had the strength to do while it was stationary.
Lorry driver, Paul Cook, of Bournemouth, was travelling in the opposite direction and saw Nathan fall out.
He told the inquest: "I saw something fall on to the road.
"I thought it was an oil can but I looked as I went past and saw it was a little boy."
Mr Cook told how he and others, including an off duty nurse, tried to give first aid but to no avail.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg told the inquest: "This is a demonstration of how tragic coincidences can conspire to cause a disaster."