Rackheath death driver was drinking at party before crash

A photograph left in tribute to Daniel Bowyer at Wroxham Road in Rackheath, where he died after crashing his car on May 3. A photograph left in tribute to Daniel Bowyer at Wroxham Road in Rackheath, where he died after crashing his car on May 3.

Mark Shields mark.shields@archant.co.uk
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
5:30 PM

A student from Wroxham who crashed in the early hours had alcohol levels double the legal limit and traces of cannabis in his system, an inquest heard.

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Floral tributes close to the spot where a man lost his life in a fatal collision next to the Green Man pub, Rackheath. Photo: Steve AdamsFloral tributes close to the spot where a man lost his life in a fatal collision next to the Green Man pub, Rackheath. Photo: Steve Adams

A student from Wroxham who crashed in the early hours had alcohol levels double the legal limit and traces of cannabis in his system, an inquest heard.

Daniel Bowyer died instantly when his Citroen Saxo crashed into a wall on the A1151 Wroxham Road by the Green Man pub at Rackheath, but his car was not visible from the road and he was not found until eight hours later.

Police investigators said the alcohol and cannabis in the 26-year-old’s system was likely to have been a “significant” factor in his losing control of his car at around 4.15am on May 3.

But Mr Bowyer’s father, Stephen, defended his son following yesterday’s inquest in Norwich, saying he was not a habitual cannabis smoker and his decision to drive drunk that night was a tragic mistake.

Norfolk senior coroner Jacqueline Lake concluded that Mr Bowyer, of Norwich Road, Wroxham, died due to a road traffic collision.

She said: “This is a tragic case that does highlight the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and also not wearing a seatbelt while driving.”

The inquest heard Mr Bowyer, a former Easton College student hoping to study ecology at the University of East Anglia, had been drinking at a party with friends the night before his death, before leaving in his car at midnight.

Friends who saw him again in Rackheath at around 2am said he was wheel-spinning his car and driving “erratically”.

Geraldine Allen, who lives near the Green Man pub, told the court she had been woken by a sudden noise at 4.15am, but thought it was a trailer passing. It wasn’t until the next morning that her neighbour noticed the car and she found Mr Bowyer’s body inside. A post mortem indicated the cause of death was multiple injuries. Traces of other drugs were found in Mr Bowyer’s system, which his father said were from prescribed sleeping pills.

Mr Bowyer’s father said: “Daniel was a bright and intelligent person, who was waiting for notification of whether he was going to the UEA. He had earlier in the night refused to drive, but later in the evening, the effects of the alcohol changed his mind. It’s a tragedy.

“More than 100 people came to his funeral. He will be missed by many because he was a friend to many.”

Following the crash, flowers and tributes to Mr Bowyer were left at the site, with friends writing messages on the bricks of the wall hit by his car. A video of tributes to Mr Bowyer was also uploaded to YouTube (above).

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