Family will never know why driver overtook before fatal crash

A coroner says it will never be known why a car driver crossed into the opposite lane of the A16 into the path of an oncoming lorry. An inquest heard Syzmon Suwala, 34, was killed when his Vauxhall Corsa collided head-on with a DAF truck on a straight stretch of the road between the roundabouts at West Marsh Road in Spalding and Surfleet. The crash happened at about 5.50pm on Sunday, August 16, 2020.

The inquest at the Myle Cross Centre in Lincoln on May 25 heard Coroner Paul Cooper had accepted an application for the lorry driver to be excused on medical grounds from having to appear in person to give evidence. His legal representative, Farid Malik, said he had recently been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and depression with psychotic episodes. “It could be the underlying reason for that is the accident which took place last year,” added Mr Malik, who outlined a serious medical episode issue a few days earlier.

Collision investigator PC Sarah Capes paraphrased a short statement from the DAF driver, saying: “He saw a line of traffic travelling towards him and the Corsa just appeared in front of him.” PC Capes said the 20-tonne lorry had been travelling at 49mph and its driver had no time to react with braking. Evidence suggested that Mr Suwala, of Lewis Court, had not been wearing a seatbelt.

A car driver who was travelling immediately behind him said: “I saw [his] dark blue car make a sudden move to the right into the opposite lane. “I thought he was going to overtake at least one car in front of him but it seemed he was overtaking two or three. “I didn’t think he had enough time to complete the overtaking.”

The inquest heard that Mr Suwala had mental health problems but his medication had been reduced and he was considered “stable”. His sister said the day of the crash had been his first at a new workplace, which he’d been excited about, and the family could not understand why it had happened. Mr Cooper replied that sometimes an inquest did not provide “perfect answers”.

He added: “We’ll never know why he overtook the vehicles in the manner that he did and you mustn’t agonise yourself trying to work out why.”

His conclusion was that the death was due to an accident.