Inquest – HGV boss dies after lorry collision

A HGV boss died when he broke his own strict rule and cycled up the inside of one of his own lorries, an inquest heard. The driver was unaware of his boss Jeff Atkinson’s presence in front of his HGV and had no reason to suspect that anyone was there as he waited to turn out of J Atkinson and Son Ltd’s base, said assistant coroner Jonathan Leach. When the Strensall to Sheriff Hutton road was clear he had checked his side mirrors and driven forward.

“I heard shouting and screaming,” said the driver. He stopped and found that he had partially driven over his boss. Mr Atkinson’s son Philip, who is also part of the family business, said in a statement to the inquest that he did not hold the driver responsible.

He said he had viewed the company’s CCTV which had captured the incident. “Personally I would not have expected to see him (his father) where I did,” he said The coroner said Mr Atkinson, who was 76, died at the scene from extensive injuries on August 27 last year.

Tony Yates, another staff member, said he was in a van following the lorry and Mr Atkinson’s bicycle . He saw the lorry driver pause at the junction and Mr Atkinson cycle up the lorry’s near side. One of the lorry’s tyres appeared to be under inflated and he thought Mr Atkinson may have been intending to tell the driver about it.

North Yorkshire Police investigator Nigel Varney said one of the tyres was less than half the recommended pressure.

Mr Leach said it was possible Mr Atkinson had seen the deflated tyre and decided to go round to the driver’s door to tell him.

He concluded that Mr Atkinson “made a conscious decision” to do what he did and made a finding that he had died as a result of a road traffic collision.