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Builder was over the drink-drive limit at time of fatal smash
4:00pm Saturday 18th 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, had been drinking with friends at the Fleece pub in Addingham on March 16 this year before going to see his girlfriend.
Yesterday’s inquest was told how collision investigators found from evidence at the scene that Mr English had been over the speed limit in 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 on to a verge.
Mr English, of Gilstead Lane in Bingley, was thrown out of the driver’s window, hitting his head on a tree and dying at the scene from a brain injury.
In a statement read out at the inquest, Daniel Brady said he had met up with his good 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 added.
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 his friend was “a relaxed driver, not fast” and that 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 that 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.”
Summing up that Mr English’s death had been an accident, Prof Marks added: “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 was brought up in Adding-ham, 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.
After he died, his friend Nathaniel Jean-Baptiste paid tribute to him on behalf of Mr English’s parents, Jackie and Kevin, partner Kaye, sister Clayre and her fiancée Cameron, and friends Kate Chatsworth, Jordan Farrow and Daniel Brady. He said: “He was always smiling and optimistic, he always looked on the bright side.”