Barrow teenager hit lorry after falling asleep at the wheel – inquest
Last updated at 17:45, Wednesday, 12 February 2014
A BARROW teenager died after falling asleep at the wheel, an inquest heard.
Joseph Andrews died on August 2 after his Vauxhall Corsa collided with an HGV on the A590 in Lindal.
An inquest heard how Mr Andrews had fallen asleep in what police said was a “microsleep” of between two and 30 seconds when his car crossed in to the path of an oncoming lorry.
Officials have ruled no-one was to blame for the crash and the coroner said Mr Andrews had paid the “ultimate” price for his tiredness.
Mr Andrews, 19, of New Leys, Barrow, was cut free from the crash by firefighters and taken to Furness General Hospital before being flown to the Royal Preston Hospital where he later died. The crash left him with a broken leg and broken pelvis, and pathologists said he died as a result of internal bleeding.
An inquest, held at Barrow Town Hall, heard how Mr Andrews had been with family on August 1 before he went on to dig bait for a fishing trip.
His girlfriend Allanah Salton sent him a text at around 3am on August 2 and Mr Andrews picked her up before they went for a drive before heading back to Barrow at around 5am.
Miss Salton told the inquest she had been “on and off sleeping” and Mr Andrews had opened the car windows and complained of tiredness.
She added: “He was saying I am knackered, I want to go back. But it was always like that.
“I had the heating on, he kept saying turn it off, it makes my eyes sore – so we had the windows down for a bit.”
The couple were heading back to Barrow at around 5.16am when Mr Andrews experienced what crash investigation expert PC Diane Bowman described as a “microsleep”, causing him to crash.
The inquest heard how after the Green Lane junction Mr Andrews’ car was on the wrong side of the road heading towards an HGV driven by Wayne Rotherey.
Mr Rotherey’s tachograph showed he slammed on the brakes in a bid to avert a crash but police investigators said after examining Mr Andrews’ car, that he had taken no action – suggesting he was asleep.
Investigators said he was travelling at around 45mph in the 60mph zone, as his speedometer stuck at 45mph.
PC Bowman told the inquest: “The collision was caused when the Vauxhall Corsa driven by Joseph Andrews entered the opposite carriageway while negotiating the right hand bend into the path of an oncoming HGV.”
She ruled out drugs, mobile phone use and any distraction for either driver and said Mr Andrews had a microsleep, or nodded off, at the wheel.
Mr Andrew’s father, Gavin Andrews, described his son as a confident and cautious driver.
Coroner for South Cumbria, Mr Ian Smith said: “It was a momentary matter and sadly Joseph paid the ultimate price for it.”
Mr Smith recorded a verdict of death in a road traffic collision.
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Andrews said: “We would like to thank everyone for their support following the incident, especially Mark Jordan the police family support worker.”
First published at 16:28, Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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Absolutely devastating news, the world has been turned upside down for his family and beautiful girlfriend. They're all together for one another and they love they have for Joe is outstanding and always will be. Thinking of you all. Your always popping into my thoughts Joe, "the street" isn't the same without you on the front xxxx
My heart goes out to Joe's mum, dad, family and friends. I can't even begin to imagine what they are going through. God Bless all of you, and Joe xxxx