Car driver not to blame for pensioner's road death

A PENSIONER who arrived at a pub and found it closed was killed when he walked across the main road outside without looking and was hit by a car, an inquest heard.

Labourer Dennis Harris, 69, was wearing dark clothing on that winter evening and was not seen by Citroen Tsara driver Daniel Wignall until it was too late to avoid the collision, the Cheltenham inquest was told.

Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore recorded a verdict that Mr Harris, of Gloucester Street, Cirencester, died accidentally as a result of the collision at about 5.30pm on December 29 2008.

The coroner said Mr Wignall could not be blamed in any way and it was his misfortune that he was driving on the old A417 outside the Plough Inn, Stratton, at the time.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this collision occurred because Mr Harris walked across the road, which had a 40mph speed limit, while he appeared to be oblivious to the vehicles travelling on it," the coroner said.

"No blame at all can be ascribed to Mr Wignall."

Mr Wignall told the inquest: "He was in the middle of the road. He must have been about 20 yards in front of me. Before I reacted, it was too late.

"I don't think I had any opportunity to avoid the collision."

Mrs Angela Brill, who drove past the Plough shortly before Mr Wignall, said she had suddenly seen Mr Harris in the road and had swerved to avoid him.

"He was just stood in the road," she said. "In my opinion it was a dangerous thing to do."

Collision investigator PC David Holland said Mr Harris' dark clothing, the dark backdrop of trees and wall and the headlights of oncoming cars were probably the reasons Mr Wignall did not see him until it was too late.

Verdict: Accident.

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