The tragic final moments of an expectant dad run over by a lorry on the A14

An expectant dad who was killed on the A14 after being hit by a lorry was sleep deprived and freezing, an inquest heard. Daniel Cole, 38, from Eastfield, Chesterton, had been walking in the middle of the A14 near Newmarket when he died on the night of January 28, just weeks before the birth of his second child. He was survived by his partner Chloe, daughter Bella, mum Dawn, dad Stephen, sisters Selina and Tracey and his brother Matthew.

Paying tribute to him after his death, Daniel’s family said: “Daniel was a compassionate and loving son, who adored his family, and often teased his nephews and nieces. He would light up any room with his cheeky smile or his loud infectious laugh. “To those who knew him, he had a big heart, and was most caring, generous and hardworking in nature.

A forgiving and understanding young man, Daniel would go out of his way to help anyone, and was full of love, joy and pride.”

The events that night

Ipswich Coroners’ Court heard today (Friday August 16) how, on that fateful night, police had received a 999 call saying there was a man walking in the middle of the A14. Two police officers were sent to investigate, but as they were en-route, they received an update saying a lorry driver had collided with a man. In a statement read to the court, PC Anthea Heap said that after just passing the BP petrol station near junction 37 of the A14, for Exning and Newmarket, she saw a lorry stopped in lane one with its hazard lights on.

She said: “I saw a stationary HGV, we stopped just behind it and saw who I now know is the driver running towards us. He appeared to be in a state of panic. “He said ‘I don’t know where he came from, help me find him’.

“Between 75 and 100 metres back from the lorry we found a person tangled up in the bushes. I could not see the person’s face. “I called an ambulance and then looked for signs of life but could not see any breathing or movement.

Family man Daniel Cole pictured with his daughter Bella.

“He was bleeding from the mouth, nose and ears.

He also had other cuts to his face. I felt for a pulse but could not find one.” PC Heap then said how she and her partner PC Yaxley carried out CPR on Daniel until paramedics and an air ambulance arrived.

She said that after sometime, the doctor from the air ambulance said that Daniel had died.

‘I jerked the steering wheel, I heard a bang’

Police then interviewed the driver of the lorry, Zsolt Bana. His statement was read at the inquest. Mr Bana said: “I was travelling at 85km (50mph) in lane one when I saw a man in the middle of the lane.

I jerked the steering wheel to the right side. “I heard a bang, and found myself in the outside lane. I put on my hazards and started braking.” 

Mr Bana statement then said he called 101 because he did not know the emergency number in the UK. He said that the line was automated so he hung up and called his supervisor who called 999.

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Mr Bana was found with no alcohol or drugs in his system, his truck also had no defects. Police forensics officer Andrew Fossey said that Mr Bana would have only seen Daniel for 1.5 seconds before he hit him, which would not have been enough time to react.

He said that there would have been no way the lorry driver could have avoided the collision.

Cocaine was found in Daniel’s system

Daniel’s mum Dawn said that he had been acting out of character around the time before his death. While Mrs Cole did attend the inquest, her statement was read out by the Coroner Nigel Parsley. The statement said: “My son Daniel was tragically killed on the eastbound carriageway of the A14.

Daniel was generally a happy person but sometimes his mood could be affected when under pressure. He did sometimes speak of ‘having enough’ but he never spoke of suicide. “He would drink with friends but never to excess as it interfered with his nutrition regime.”

The tragic final moments of an expectant dad run over by a lorry on the A14Junction 37 of the A14, where tragedy unfolded

Mrs Cole added that in the days before his death, Daniel had been “lower than normal” and that he wasn’t training which was out of character for her son who loved staying fit.

She said that on the Saturday, two days before his death, he had planned to take her to the accountants, but that he did not show up. Mrs Cole said this was also deeply out of character. A friend of Daniel’s also had a witness statement read out to the inquest hearing.

They said that Daniel had called asking for help because his car had broken down in Exning, near Newmarket. The friend said he brought Daniel back to his house, but said that Daniel was acting strangely. The friend said that he “had seen Daniel like this many times after he had taken drugs.”

Daniel was offered a place to sleep twice but refused both

The friend then offered Daniel a bed for the night, but it was refused, and instead he drove Daniel back to his car.

Another witness statement was read to the court from the landlord of the White Horse pub in Exning. Jack Welford said that Daniel had come into his pub on the night of his death and said that he had looked in a bad way. Staff remarked that he looked exhausted and that he was shivering.

When Daniel paid for a beer and some nuts, Mr Welford noticed there was some white powder on the bottom of Daniel’s bank card. Mr Welford offered Daniel a room for the night, but Daniel never took the offer up. He was then last seen at the BP garage close to where he died.

The server at the petrol station said that he did not appear drunk and that he complained of the cold. Summing up his findings, senior coroner Nigel Parsley ruled out that Daniel had tried to kill himself. He said: “I can see no intention in relation to the act of his death.

From the evidence, I think Daniel didn’t know where he was. “What I do get is that there was an element of confusion that evening. There was a combination of things triggered by the use of cocaine and that had led to a lack of sleep.

He was also suffering from the cold.

The tragic final moments of an expectant dad run over by a lorry on the A14The White Horse pub in Exning

“Daniel died from the injuries he received after being struck by a heavy goods vehicle. At the time, Daniel was walking in lane one with his back to the traffic, wearing dark clothing without any street lighting. The exact reason Daniel died was because of a road traffic collision .”

Before the inquest, police issued a statement on behalf of the Cole family.

It said: “We as Daniel’s family, remain deeply saddened by his loss and the events that led to his tragic death on the evening of Monday, January 28, 2019.

“We do not wish to comment upon the circumstances which led to his death, but would ask that we are given the space and privacy we need, as we come to terms with the finding of the Coroner.”

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