Driver, 79, dies in head-on collision after veering into oncoming traffic

A pensioner who veered into oncoming traffic causing a head-on collision was suffering from a chest infection. David Bott lost control of his Vauxhall Meriva as he negotiated a left-hand bend on the B5032 Alton Road in Threapwood. The 79-year-old then struck a Mercedes CLC220 as he veered into oncoming traffic in the opposite lane.

Witnesses came to his rescue and alerted the emergency services. But he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene on December 12. Now an inquest has heard that he was suffering with bronchopneumonia and myocardial fibrosis.

The retired HGV driver had just dropped his grandson David Hudson off at his home in Cheadle and was returning to his home in Alton when the collision took place. In a statement read out at the inquest David said: "My grandfather always picks me up from the bus stop and takes me home. "I got there this day and my grandfather was waiting for me, I got in the car and could tell he had a bad throat.

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"It took him about five minutes to start the journey, I asked if he was OK and he said he felt under the weather.

We were getting close to the right-hand turning onto the estate where I live and my grandfather nearly missed this right-hand turning. "I had to make him aware that he was going to miss the turning as my grandfather was traveling too fast. My grandfather then braked and turned onto the estate and he clipped the kerb.

"My grandfather dropped me off at home, I said my goodbyes and I just thought he was suffering with a bad throat. I have travelled with my grandfather over a thousand times, his driving is excellent. "My grandad is a former professional HGV driver and I always felt very comfortable and safe as a passenger.

My grandfather nearly missing the right turn was out of character." David's car was in the opposite lane when it struck the front of the Mercedes. The Mercedes driver had no more than two seconds to react.

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In a statement read to the inquest, he said: "I left work at JCB at 4.39pm.

"The road is a single carriageway in a rural area and the speed limit varies from 30 to 60 mph. This section was 60mph. I have travelled on the road since 2017 and I'm very familiar with it.

"I was giving a friend a lift home from work and he was in the front passenger seat. Traffic flow was light at this time. As I approached the brow of a bend I became aware of the headlights of a car in the opposite direction.

"The car came over the brow and the driver did not adjust his steering for the left-hand curve. He was travelling towards my side of the road and was heading straight for me. "I remember saying 'What the?'.

The car travelled from the opposite direction and drove straight in front me. I didn't have time to react or swerve." The driver was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital where he was treated for whiplash and soft tissue damage.

He was later discharged that day. Police, fire service, paramedics and the air ambulance were called to the scene, but nothing could be done to save David and he was pronounced dead at the scene at 5.36pm. A post mortem examination provided a cause of death as 1A multiple injuries and in part 2 bronchopneumonia and myocardial fibrosis.

It was suggested that David's chest infection may have caused him to lose control of the car. Deputy coroner Anthony Curzon recorded a conclusion of trauma and natural disease. Mr Curzon said: "He was alone in the car and driving towards Alton.

On reaching the crest of a rise in the road with a curve to the left just beyond that rise, he failed to follow the road and moved in the lane of approaching traffic. "In no more than two seconds he collided with an oncoming vehicle off side to off side. The deceased did not survive the impact and death was certified at the scene.

"I am satisfied that this death was as a result of trauma and natural disease."

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