The rider of a stolen quad bike was killed when he veered off a Doncaster road in the dark and smashed into a tree.
Nathan Robinson, of The Crescent, Dunscroft, may have thought he was being followed by a police car when he looked behind him and started zig-zagging across the A614 at Blaxton, his inquest heard.
The 22-year-old roadworker was in convoy with two friends in a car when the crash happened – the pair have since been jailed for their part in the theft.
The trio, from Dunscroft and Hatfield, had stolen the quad bike from a farm in Haxey in the early hours of November 7, 2011.
The quad and their Vauxhall Zafira were seen driving the wrong way round the Blaxton roundabout before heading towards Lindholme at high speed.
The quad was following the car, but when the two men in the car realised it was no longer behind them they turned back and found Nathan fatally injured in dense woodland next to the road.
Motorist Derek Hart, who was heading to work along Thorne Road at 4.45am, believed the car and the quad were travelling at about 60mph.
He told the hearing: “It looked to me like the quad was stolen and was following his mate home. The rider turned around and saw me and started zig-zagging on the road. I thought he was doing this because he didn’t want me to overtake him. They went very fast.
“They could only see my headlights so wouldn’t know whether or not I was a police car.”
Police collision investigator Mark Hargreaves said: “The nature of the damage to the vehicle suggests it was a high-impact speed, which implies it was travelling at a high speed, consistent with the evidence of the witness. That sort of speed would affect the stability of the bike.”
Tests showed the quad’s lights were switched off and Nathan may have been trying to conceal the bike.
Coroner Nicola Mundy, recording a conclusion of accidental death, said Nathan may have thought Mr Hart was travelling in a police vehicle.