Ambulance driver died after crash caused by defective tyre
AN ambulance volunteer - described as one of life’s great characters - died when he lost control of his car on his way to pick up a patient.
At the inquest into the death of Obie Ebanks, 59, who lived in Exeter Road, Exmouth, heard that it was a defective tyre that was responsible for him losing control and ultimately costing him his life.
Obie was driving his Ford Focus when it collided with a lorry on the A30 near Honiton on Christmas Eve last year.
Initial enquires suggested that the father-of-two’s car may have aquaplaned on water that had spilt out onto the road between Rawridge and Monkton.
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He died instantly.
At County Hall the coroner said he died as a result of a road traffic collision and said the investigation was now concluded.
In giving his findings, assistant coroner Andrew Cox said: “On the 24 December there was a road traffic collision on the A30 at Rawridge Hill near Honiton in Devon.
“The deceased’s vehicle had a defective rear tyre which caused a loss of control and resulted in the collision.”
Originally from London, Obie was a former member of the famous Repton Boxing Club. He won his first 20 fights, but his 21st was his first taste of defeat and he retired from serious competition thereafter.
After moving to Exmouth two-and-a-half years ago to be closer to his family, he joined the Exmouth Chess Club and quickly became a popular player.
He had struggled to find work but was said to have found “a new purpose in life” after becoming a volunteer ambulance driver in the last few weeks of his life.
His brother Kim Ebanks, a town councillor for Cullompton, said: “It was a full time role for him carrying patients home from hospital and back again. He would be up at 5.30am to collect his first patient and he was in a working role at the time of the crash. I know he was due to pick a patient up at 1pm but thankfully there was no-one else in the car with him at the time.
“He expressed how carrying so many sick people around brought home how fortunate he was. He was in super health and would comment on how difficult life was for them.
“He would run, cycle and was very fit. The officers who arrived at his crash scene thought he was in his 40s. When my mother told them he was 59 they couldn’t believe it.”
The road was closed for 10 hours following the collision, which happened at 11.35am. The lorry driver, a 50-year-old man from Launceston, suffered minor injuries.
Mr Ebanks leaves two sons, Obie jr and Levy, his mother Odlin Kimpton, two sisters Lisa and Belle and two brothers Kim and Mark.