Driver killed after attempting to overtake 'probably six' cars at once

A man died in a car crash after attempting to overtake "probably six" vehicles at once, an inquest heard. Patrick Vincent Flaherty, 77, died at the scene of the crash on the A483 near Ardleen, Powys, at around 4.30pm on August 17 last year. The crash involved "devoted" family man Mr Flaherty's blue Ford Fusion as well as a black Vauxhall Astra and a Morrisons lorry.

At Friday's inquest in Pontypridd coroner David Regan read a statement on behalf of Mr Flaherty's daughter, Mary Flaherty-Weeks, who described how her father was born in Ireland before moving to Chicago later in life where he became a carpenter. It was in America where he met and married his wife before they moved to Shrewsbury. Mr Flaherty was living in Golga Close, Welshpool, before he died.

In the statement Ms Flaherty-Weeks said: "He had no major convictions or points on his licence. Seeing him leave as he did was so painful but day by day we get a little stronger."  At the hearing witnesses described seeing Mr Flaherty trying to overtake other vehicles before the crash took place.

Mr Flaherty subsequently collided with a black Vauxhall Astra driven by Billy Smith and carrying three other passengers. Mr Smith said in a statement: "From what I remember there was no other vehicle behind me - just the 4x4 in front. "I was, I think, at 60mph and music was playing on my stereo.

The 4x4 braked so sharply. I had a few seconds to make a decision."

The crash took place on the A483

Mr Smith said he could either have steered into the hedge or attempted to go around the 4x4. "I steered right," he said. "The blue car was right in front of me.

I felt the cars collide. People were saying they had seen the blue car overtaking. I don't know who the people were who were saying this."

Jacob David Powell, who was travelling in Mr Smith's car at the time, said: "I have been in the car with Bill countless times. I would describe Bill as a good driver. He would stick to the rules and wouldn't speed.

"I remember seeing a blue car coming towards us - the blue car was on the wrong side of the road. I remember screeching. I heard what sounded like lots of pots and pans being dropped."

Statements were also provided by various witnesses who described how the blue car attempted to overtake traffic on the stretch of road before the crash took place. In a statement provided to the coroner and read at the hearing Simon Robert Huish said: "The blue car was on the wrong side of the road." Describing where the blue car was positioned before thay Mr Huish added: "I would say it was about five or six car lengths behind.

It was trying to overtake but not making progress." Dyfed-Powys Police also provided the coroner with a report regarding what officers found in their investigation of the crash. Officers explained the speed limit on the road is 60mph for cars and 50mph for lorries and HGVs.

It was estimated Mr Flaherty was likely to have been driving 66mph when he collided with the Astra. The report from officers read: "It is likely that Mr Flaherty overtaking was a key factor of this collision." A pathology report suggested the most likely cause of death was due to Mr Flaherty sustaining a severe chest injury.

The coroner accepted this when making his conclusion. Summing up, Mr Regan said Mr Flaherty "attempted to overtake a number of vehicles - probably six" at the time the crash happened. "Witnesses dispute as to if there were one or two vehicles in the direction of Mr Flaherty," he added. "It is quite clear Mr Flaherty hit at least one of these vehicles.

"I will record he died as a result of a road traffic collision."

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