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Hopes lessons can be taken from A40 tragedy

THE family of Johnny Stevens, who was killed by a lorry on the A40, has urged the NHS to learn from his death. An inquest heard Mr Stevens died after being struck by a lorry on the Northern Bypass Road on July 5 last year, just hours after being discharged from the John Radcliffe Hospital[1] for a previous car crash. It happened in the early hours and Oxford Coroner’s Court was told the 33-year-old was struck as he lay in the road after attempting to walk home.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter concluded he may have been suffering from concussion or confusion at the time as a result of injuring his head earlier. During the previous crash at 10.30pm on July 4 in Oxford Road, Horspath, Mr Stevens rolled his car after swerving to miss an animal in the road, hitting his head, and was taken to hospital. In giving his narrative verdict, Mr Salter said Mr Stevens, from Horspath, was given a CT scan at hospital which came back normal before being discharged about 3am.

He added: “At approximately 3.40am Johnny Stevens was lying in lane two of the A40 Northern Bypass Road, when he was run over by a HGV vehicle. “The reason he was in laying in the carriageway is unknown but may have been due to concussion or confusion. “There was no third party involvement or suspicious circumstances.

“It therefore appears he placed himself on the carriageway but there is insufficient evidence to conclude he intended to take his own life.” Mr Stevens’ family were at the inquest yesterday and questioned why the hospital let him leave without a responsible adult to look after him. His dad Mark Stevens said during the inquest: “Our main concern is Johnny had a bad car accident and by statement was travelling about 45mph.

He must’ve had a really bad impact.” He added: “He was in hospital for three hours, was bandaged up with blood on his shirt and all over his trousers. “He had been dealing with anxiety and bad sleeping, then at 3am was let out into the night.”

The inquest heard Mr Stevens was given a note by the hospital saying he should be with a responsible adult for the next 24 hours after discharge. Speaking at the inquest on behalf of Oxford University[2] NHS Trust, Dr Philip Hormbrey said although a CT scan might not show minor concussion, the hospital would not have been able to insist Mr Stevens stayed to be picked up. He said: “With all patients we have to take into account any risks to them in the future.

“In Johnny’s case, doctors had assessed him and did not perceive was at risk to himself from his head injury or from any other underlying psychological problems.”

Dr Hormbrey agreed to take back the concerns to the trust and look at how they can better insist patients in leaving overnight are picked up by a family member.

Mr Stevens’ dad thanked the NHS and police for their help during a difficult time adding that he hoped something positive could come from Johnny’s death.


  1. ^ John Radcliffe Hospital (www.oxfordtimes.co.uk)
  2. ^ Oxford University (www.oxfordtimes.co.uk)

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