Driver may have fallen asleep before fatal crash, inquest hears

Emergency services are at the scene of a serious crash at Stradsett near Downham Market

Emergency services at the scene of the crash at Stradsett, near Downham Market. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

A retired mechanic may have fallen asleep at the wheel before his car collided head-on with a lorry, a court was told.

James Hofwolt, 69 and his 75-year-old wife Sheila died as a result of injuries they sustained in the crash on the A1122 at Stradsett, near Downham Market, on October 21, an inquest heard on Tuesday.

Mr Hofwolt, who was driving the couple's black Proton car, was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision, near the Foldgate Inn and junction with the A134. His wife, who was the front seat passenger, was taken to hospital, where she passed away later that day. The crash happened three miles from their home in Wereham.

Emergency services are at the scene of a serious crash at Stradsett near Downham Market. Picture: Sa

James Hofwolt died at the scene of the collision. His wife Sheila died later in hospital. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Area coroner Yvonne Blake heard the Hofwolts' car, which was travelling towards Swaffham, veered into the path of a Volvo tipper lorry travelling in the opposite direction just after 10am.

A police report said the lorry driver, who escaped uninjured, was driving safely and could not have avoided the collision.

It added neither driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs and no faults were found with either of the vehicles. Crash investigators believe Mr Hofwolt may have fallen asleep at the wheel. 

The coroner concluded Mr and Mrs Hofwolt died as a result of a road traffic collision.

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