Inquest into quad bikes continues as helmet use detailed

AN UNSEEN ditch took the life of an experienced young quad bike rider out setting dingo traps on his Dalby family property.

Deputy State Coroner John Lock, investigating a string of all-terrain vehicle deaths throughout Queensland, heard yesterday that Gus Robert Haken, 21, had been riding go-carts and quad bikes since he was five.

Forensic crash investigator Sgt Sean Ralf, from Dalby police station, told the court the ditch, about 30cm deep and 1 to 1.5m wide, was difficult to see and would have been more so because of the position of the sun at the time of Mr

Haken's death on the afternoon of October 12, 2013.

"It certainly would have taken Gus by surprise," he said.

Sgt Ralf said tyre marks at the scene suggested the quad bike had become airborne, hit the other side of the ditch and done a "pirouetting cartwheel".

At some stage part of the bike struck the back of Mr Haken's head, fracturing his skull. He was not wearing a helmet - "a very common practice on rural properties", Sgt Ralf said.

Mr Haken's father Robert told the court he had gone back to the scene to re-enact the crash on the same vehicle.

"I got there at 4am to find his dogs still sitting where he died," he said. "I lost my best friend and my son at the same time."

Robert Haken said he went over the ditch himself at a low speed, knowing it was there, but still could not see it on approach. The quad bike went hard left and somersaulted.

Gus Haken was found to have had a blood alcohol content three times the legal driving limit.

The Coroner also heard evidence on the death of a young woman who rode a quad bike a short distance after a party.

Zoe McInnes, 28, from Durong, northwest of Kingaroy, suffered head injuries in the early hours of June 16, 2013, after celebrating her youngest brother's engagement.

She was not wearing a helmet.

Friends who found her lying on a track between two farm houses told the court of the long time it took an ambulance to arrive.

The inquest will continue on Monday.

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