Pedestrian killed after walking in front of VW Campervan, inquest hears
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Alcohol is thought to have affected the judgement of a 72-year-man who was killed when he stepped out into the road, an inquest has heard.
Clifford James, died on August 22, 2019, after he was struck by a VW Campervan, while attempting to cross Mundford Road near to its junction with Croxton Road in Thetford.
Mr James was pronounced dead at the scene, his cause of death was given as multiple injuries as a result of a road traffic collision.
At an inquest into his death, held at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, on June 16, Simon Milburn, assistant coroner for Norfolk, read evidence from Julian Peacock, the driver of the vehicle which hit Mr James, witnesses to the collision and police officers who investigated the incident.
The court heard how on August 22, shortly before 8.30pm, Mr Peacock was driving along Mundford Road towards the Croxton Road junction, when he noticed a man in a white shirt at the side of the road.
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Mr Peacock said after seeing the pedestrian he returned his focus to the approaching junction when he saw “the man in the white shirt in front of him.”
Mr Peacock said: “I don’t believe he looked in my direction, it was as if he thought he had the right of way.
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“I had no reason to believe he was going to step into the road...the idea was to try and avoid him but there was no chance of that.”
Tony Pallet, who witnessed the collision, said: “I saw the Campervan swerve to the right.. I had no idea what had happened but I knew the Campervan had struck the man in the white shirt. The whole thing happened in a split second.”
PC James Hutchins, a collision investigation officer, who investigated the circumstances of the incident, found no fault with Mr Peacock’s vehicle and no evidence he had used his phone prior to the incident.
He also tested negative for drugs or alcohol.
A toxicology report found Mr James had “consumed a significant amount of alcohol” prior to his death.
PC Hutchins said “The exact reason why the pedestrian stepped into carriageway remains unknown but it’s likely that the amount of alcohol he had consumed would have affected his decision making.”
He said he believed there had been “insufficient time or distance” for Mr Peacock to react to avoid the collision with Mr James.
Closing the inquest Mr Milburn said Mr James died as a result of an RTC.