A SOLDIER killed when his car was hit head on by a lorry after he 'drifted' into the wrong lane of the A420 had 'likely' fallen asleep, a coroner has said.

The widow of Ross Standing, however, said she 'struggled' to accept that explanation at the 27-year-old's inquest at Oxfordshire Coroners Court today.

It looked into the fatal crash between Faringdon and Littleworth, which took place at 5.55am on Sunday, July 14 last year.

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Despite efforts by emergency services Mr Standing, who was based at RAF Brize Norton and lived in Faringdon with his wife Yasmin and their three young children, died at the scene from multiple injuries.

The court heard he had been heading in the direction of Oxford for a golf tournament that morning.

Guaran Rai, who was in the car immediately behind Mr Standing's grey Vauxhall Insignia Estate, said in a statement he watched Mr Standing 'start to drift' into the opposite lane and it was like he had 'not turned the wheel' to account for the upcoming bend in the road.

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Lorry driver Lukas Stuckus added he had tried to break when he saw Mr Standing's car but he was 'too close' and there was nothing he could do to avoid hitting him.

Michelle Garnett did not witness the crash but she and her husband came across the scene shortly afterwards. Her statement said she had gone over to Mr Standing's car, which was badly damaged and on the grass verge at the side of the road.

She said she had 'tried to keep him talking' until emergency services arrived and that he had told her: "I'm really tired. I wish I'd stayed home this morning."

The court also heard in person from forensic collision investigator Luke Webb who examined the crash scene in the immediate aftermath and reviewed dash cam footage of the incident.

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He said the crash was caused by Mr Standing being in the wrong lane for two seconds before he was hit by the lorry, with both drivers attempting to brake.

Mr Webb concluded the crash was down to either distraction or fatigue by Mr Standing, with no evidence of medical issues or intoxication, but it would be 'unfair' to say which was more plausible.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter said he believed it was 'likely' given Mr Standing's comments and Mr Webb's report that the soldier had 'nodded off' at the wheel. He added, however, that they 'would never know' for sure and recorded a conclusion of death by road traffic collision.

The soldier's wife said to Mr Salter: "I just struggle to accept fatigue. I know it's better than distraction but he went to bed at 9.30pm and was asleep by 10.30pm."

She added when he woke up he was 'excited' to go to the golf tournament which was only 'four minutes down the road'.