Grieving mum's warning on using phone at wheel after son's car death on A38

The mother of man who died in a crash on the A38[1] has warned about the dangers of using mobile phones behind the wheel. Michael Collins suffered fatal head injuries when he lost control of his car on the dual carriageway in Derby last year and ploughed into a truck with a trailer parked in a layby. An inquest[2] heard he had been on the phone for more than seven minutes prior to the crash.

It was also revealed he had a “cocktail” of illicit and non-illicit drugs in his system including cocaine and Diazepam. Although it is unknown how much of the drugs he had in his system at the time of the collision, it is believed they could have also contributed to the cause. Sally Davies, Michael’s mother, paid tribute to her “loving son” and warned motorists to be aware of the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.

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She said: “Michael was a kind, loving, caring and free-spirited person.

“We would like to warn all motorists about the dangers of using a mobile phone behind the wheel with Michael’s death. We all miss him very much.” Mr Collins, of Curtin Drive, Wednesbury, was driving his red Renault Laguna when the crash happened between the Palm Court and Little Eaton islands, at 7.45pm on April 15, 2017.

Witness statements read out during the inquest at Derby and Derbyshire Coroners’ Court said they saw the car driving erratically and swerving on the carriageway.

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The inquest heard how Mr Collins’ car swerved to the left and then the right before veering back to the left and rotating 45 degrees anti-clockwise. The car then skidded into an articulated truck with a trailer which was parked in a layby near the carriageway.

Mr Collins suffered fatal head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. DC Andrew Prince, collision investigator for Derbyshire Police[3], said: “A mobile phone was found in the driver’s footwell and it had been used prior to the crash taking place.

“This phone call lasted seven minutes and 45 seconds and, according to the woman he was speaking to, it was a general chat about how he was. “The call was ended before or at the time of the collision. The woman he was speaking to said the call ended naturally.

“Mr Collins had said on the phone that he was tired. He said, ‘I have got to go now, I love you’.

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“There was no hands-free kit in the car which suggested he was holding the phone or had it on speaker.” The inquest was told Mr Collins did not have a full driving licence and his provisional licence had expired.

The car he was driving had a number of defects and the ABS was not working properly. It was stated, though, that these had no effect on Mr Collins losing control of the car. Assistant coroner Louise Pinder recorded a death of misadventure.

She said: “Michael Collins was travelling from the West Midlands to Middlesbrough on April 15, 2017.

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“He was seen by a number of independent witnesses driving erratically from the Markeaton roundabout to the site of the collision. “At 7.45pm, Mr Collins lost control and drove into the rear of an articulated truck parked in a layby and he sustained fatal injuries. “He used a mobile phone to make a call between 7.35pm and 7.42pm, without a hands free kit, prior to the collision.

“He was under the influence of a cocktail of illicit and non-illicit drugs at the time of the collision. “He was distracted by his mobile phone and with the combined effect of the cocktail of drugs it caused or contributed to the cause of collision.” We’ve launched our very own app for Android[4] and Apple[5] devices which can be tailored to deliver the news and sport that you’re interested in.

To download the IOS app click here[6] .

To download the Android app click here[7] .

References

  1. ^ A38 (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
  2. ^ inquest (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
  3. ^ Derbyshire Police (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
  4. ^ Android (play.google.com)
  5. ^ Apple (go.redirectingat.com)
  6. ^ here (go.redirectingat.com)
  7. ^ here (play.google.com)

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