Cannock dad killed in collision with lorry was “intoxicated”

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A Staffordshire father-of-two who was hit by an articulated lorry was well over the drink drive limit, an inquest heard.

John Taylor, 43, of Dartmouth Road, Cannock, was hit by a heavy goods vehicle while walking in the middle of the road on the A5 Watling Street, in Bridgtown.

The incident occured at around 4.30am on March 2, 2013.

Mr Taylor, who worked as a housing support manager and a Scout leader for 15 years, suffered multiple injuries in the incident and died later at University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent.

He is survived by wife Diane and children Beth and Ben, as well as both his parents and three siblings.

The post mortem showed he had 118mg/dc of alcohol in his blood – the drink drive limit is 80 milligrams.

Colin Mason, a lorry driver who passed Mr Taylor moments before he collided with another truck, said: “I don’t think the male was even aware of the lorry heading towards him.”

Mr Mason told the inquest the man was walking down the central filter lane of the A5 towards Longford and “stumbled once” as he drove past.

He then described how, looking in his mirrors, he saw Mr Taylor step in front of the approaching lorry.

“If it had slowed down sooner it would still have hit him. I believe it couldn’t have missed him.”

John Baker, driver of the vehicle that hit Mr Taylor, told the inquest that the victim moved a fraction into his lane and was hit by the front right of the cab.

Mr Baker, of Alpraham Green, Cheshire, told the court the pedestrian’s dark clothing meant he did not see him until it was too late.

PC Katrina Hall, who reconstructed the incident, said there was a “pool of blood where the pedestrian had landed” as well as a “body slide mark” containing denim and body tissue.

She found that at this time of night a person could be seen from 100 metres away but said it was “highly unusual” for someone to be on the road at this time and that Mr Baker could not have expected this to happen.

PC Helen Smart, collision investigation officer at Stafford Borough Police Station, said: “Mr Taylor’s general health was good.

“He was a non-smoker but occasionally was a binge drinker.

PC Smart said that after a meal with brother-in-law Andrew Wilson and friends, Mr Taylor had declined an offer to sleep over and started making his way home in the early hours of a Saturday morning.

There was no CCTV of the crash scene but a nearby business had footage of a man matching his description heading towards Longford.

PC Smart said: “It does show John a little worse for wear. He appeared to be staggering slightly as he walked past the camera.”

Summing up, HM Coroner Andrew Haigh said: “I think a major factor is John’s intoxication and the fact he was affected by alcohol is significant.”

He recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision.

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