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​Stafford pensioner died days after road collision

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 01, 2014

South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh

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A “SPRIGHTLY” Stafford pensioner was knocked down by a car as he returned home from a night out with former work colleagues, an inquest heard.

Robin Parsons, 74, died at University Hospital of North Staffordshire from multiple injuries on December 13 2013, six days after the collision on the A34 Stone Road, close to the Redhill roundabout, Cannock Coroner’s Court was told yesterday.

The Fairoak Avenue resident was described by those who knew him as “very good for a man of his age” and “very sprightly on his feet”. On the night of the collision he had been out for a meal and drinks, and had consumed wine during the evening, the inquest heard.

He was crossing the southbound carriageway of Stone Road shortly after 1am on December 7 when he was in collision with a Citroen Saxo, being driven by 23-year-old Woodlands Road resident Ben Smalley.

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Mr Smalley told the inquest that he had been returning from Stone with three friends at the time of the collision and was not sure why he had not seen Mr Parsons in the road.

“I wasn’t distracted and I was doing 40mph or less – I wasn’t speeding,” he said.

The inquest heard that Mr Smalley had smoked a cannabis cigarette earlier that evening, but a doctor who examined him after the collision found him to be unaffected by the drug. A breathalyser test detected no alcohol in his system.

A police investigation revealed that Mr Smalley had been driving at a minimum speed of 37mph in the 40mph zone. Tyre marks on the road indicated that he had applied his brakes.

Collision investigation officer PC John Mould said: “Mr Smalley says he did not see the man; clearly he did because he reacted. It would have happened so quickly. He may believe he didn’t but he reacted quite quickly.”

Fellow collision investigation officer PC David Burgham said: “There would have been an adequate view for the pedestrian to see the car and the car driver to see the pedestrian; unfortunately he didn’t see the pedestrian until it was too late but there is evidence he reacted.”

South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh, who recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision, said: “Having heard the evidence, I don’t think I can be clear about any factors, but there are a few possibilities here.

“Firstly, the street was quite well lit but it is apparent that Mr Parsons was wearing dark clothes that would reduce his conspicuity. Another possible factor is the speed of the vehicle; I don’t say the driver was speeding at all but tests indicated a minimum speed of 37mph.

“This is not something the driver would have expected.

“I have taken the issue of the driver’s concentration - was he affected? I think this is a less likely factor because we do have some reaction by the driver.

“Another potential factor is the pedestrian crossed close to a bit of hedgerow. And I think it is likely that he had had quite a bit to drink; it may well have affected his ability to cross the road safely.”

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