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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Crash victim from Barrow may not have slept, inquest told

A DAD-OF-TWO from Barrow had amphetamines in his blood and may not have slept the night before his car smashed into a lorry.

Andrew Robert Giles Taylor, of Parkhouse Court, Barrow, died instantly when his black Peugeot 307 drifted into the path of an oncoming Volvo HGV on the A595 near Foxfield on March 5.

An inquest at Barrow Town Hall yesterday heard traces of the drug, which can create a “false sense of alertness” were found during a post-mortem.

Mr Taylor, 47, had been making his way to a business meeting at Sellafield with friend and colleague John Carine, to discuss a bid for a lucrative contract at the nuclear site, but was significantly behind schedule, the inquest heard.

His wife, Jane Taylor, told the court he had been up late and it was possible he had not been to bed. Mobile phone records showed he had made calls shortly before 1am and around 5.30am on the day of his death.

Mrs Taylor said he was awake and dressed when she left to drop their two children off at school at 8.30am

Mr Carine said he had called Mr Taylor in the morning to push the meeting back from 12.30pm to 1pm.

Collision expert PC Richard Wiejak, of Cumbria police, said a “micro-sleep” lasting a split second could have caused Mr Taylor to lose concentration.

DC Alexandra Ashton also said a laptop and mobile phone were recovered from the car, and analysis concluded the phone had been plugged into the laptop at 1.01pm while he was driving, although no other interactions with either device were recorded while he was behind the wheel.

PC Wiejak said the combination of the effects of the drug and possible distractions from the devices could have contributed to the collision.

Mr Taylor had also not been wearing a seatbelt, although the inquest heard it was unclear whether this would have made a difference to his chances of survival.

The collision occurred shortly before 1.30pm, after a right-hand bend in the road near the High Cross Inn.

Witnesses Rachael and Stephen Smith, of Vengeance Street, Walney, were passengers in one of the vehicles behind Mr Taylor.

Mrs Smith, who was driving, said: “We went around the bend and he just went into the lorry. There was a massive bang and the car spun around twice. The lorry driver never had a chance.

“I went over to the car to see if he was alright, but he was gone.”

Drayman Raymond Kiziuk, who was driving behind Mr Taylor, said he had been swerving and drifting in the road, and had clipped a grass verge in Kirkby.

Records from the lorry’s tachograph showed driver Anthony Lowes, from Newcastle, had been driving within the speed limit at the time of the collision.

Mr Lowes said: “I tried to brake and swerve as much as I could but there was no room.”

Severe chest injuries were recorded as the cause of death.

Coroner for south and east Cumbria, Ian Smith, recorded a verdict of death by road vehicle collision.

Mr Taylor’s dad, Giles Taylor, told the Evening Mail: “As a family I can say we have lost a very special person. The best way to describe him would be to use the word ‘character’.

“I have lost a very special son.”

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