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Accident verdict on Addingham car crash victim
2:57pm Saturday 11th August 2012 in News
A builder thrown out of his car into a tree after losing control on a country lane was almost double the drink-drive limit and had not been wearing a seatbelt, an inquest heard.
Jonathan English, 28, who was brought up in Addingham, had been drinking with friends at the village’s Fleece pub on Friday, March 16, before going to see his girlfriend.
An inquest was told how collision investigators found from evidence at the scene that Mr English had been over the speed limit on Ilkley Road, Addingham, near the junction with Old Lane, when he lost control on a bend.
An under-inflated front tyre contributed to his black Fiat Punto rolling over several times along the road and onto a verge, He was thrown out of the driver’s window, hitting his head on a tree and dying at the scene from brain injury.
Mr English’s friend, Daniel Brady, said in a statement he had met up with his friend earlier in the day and that Mr English had been “full of life as usual”. They had drunk several rounds before leaving the pub at about 8pm, he said.
Mr Brady told the court: “I could tell he was in a rush because he didn’t offer me a lift home as usual.”
He said he knew Mr English was going to see his girlfriend and added that his friend was “a relaxed driver, not fast” and he had never felt unsafe as a passenger with him.
However, evidence from the investigation said Mr English would have been travelling between 40mph and 50mph just before he crashed and the road markings suggested he had tried to regain control on the bend but had over-corrected.
Previous damage done to the rim of the front wheel would have acted as a pivotal point, making the car roll even more.
Post-mortem tests showed Mr English had the equivalent of 3.5 pints of beer in his system at the time of the smash.
Assistant Deputy Bradford coroner Professor Paul Marks said: “I accept the amount of alcohol could have adversely affected the deceased’s ability to drive.”
Prof Marks, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said: “The negotiation of the bend was in excess of the speed limit, the driver was not wearing a seatbelt and ejection from the vehicle undoubtedly added to the seriousness of the injuries he sustained.”
Mr English, of Gilstead Lane, Bingley, was brought up in Addingham, where his girlfriend Kaye Walker lives. He went to school in the village before going to Ilkley Grammar. He worked in the building trade with his father.