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Stafford father who died after crashing into a tree would have had no time to brake

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 05, 2014

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A STAFFORD father would have had no time to brake when his car left a road and hit a tree along a rural road near Penkridge, an inquest heard.

Ian McDonald was just 39 when he suffered fatal head injuries in the collision along Congreve Road in August 2013, Cannock Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday.

His fiancée Alyson Davies said the pharmacist “made a difference to a lot of people’s lives” through his work managing a pharmacy at Penkridge Medical Practice.

“He was a really good father and an amazing fiancee. He was very hard working and is greatly missed,” she added after Tuesday’s inquest.

The Ingestre Road resident, who is also survived by son Jack, now two, was on his way home from Wellington, near Telford, when the accident happened.

The inquest was told he had been diverted off the M54 motorway, because of a closure, and texted Miss Davies shortly before 10pm on August 27 to warn her he would be late home.

An automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera at the A5, near the Gailey island, recorded his grey BMW 330 travelling westbound – the opposite direction to Stafford – towards Congreve Road. But the inquest was told he was familiar with the road.

When he failed to return home Miss Davies reported him missing.

His overturned car was found on Congreve Road shortly before 5am on August 28 by a lorry driver, who called emergency services. But there was nothing they could do to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

PC Katrina Hall, who attended the scene, said Mr McDonald’s car had left the near side of the road, hit the tree and rolled onto the road, which was unlit, had no markings and had a 60mph speed limit.

“The impact was consistent with a high speed collision. He would have had very little, if any, time to react.

“By the time he perceived the danger he would not have had time to apply his brakes.”

Toxicology tests revealed no traces of alcohol. But Mr McDonald had taken morphine “a comparatively short time prior to the collision taking place”, South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh said.

“I do believe it is likely to be a factor. It may well have made him feel drowsy, and it was the end of a full working day.

“But I believe his death has resulted from a tragic accident.”

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