Retired builder gave lorry driver ‘insufficient’ time to avoid fatal crash on A47, inquest hears

The crash on the A47 at Scarning on Friday, May 5. Picture: Kevin J Murphy @1969DalyBoy

The crash on the A47 at Scarning on Friday, May 5. Picture: Kevin J Murphy @1969DalyBoy - Credit: Archant

A retired builder gave a lorry driver 'insufficient' time to avoid a collision on the A47 at Scarning, an inquest heard.

John Carpenter was killed when he attempted to turn right from Grange Road onto the A47 towards King's Lynn, on May 5, 2017.

The 65-year-old's red Vauxhall Corsa was struck by a lorry travelling towards Norwich shortly before 3pm.

An inquest in Norwich on Thursday heard how Mr Carpenter, of Bluebell Close, Scarning, Dereham, pulled out in front of the vehicle 'without warning'.

His car rolled and ended up in the King's Lynn-bound Lane. He died at the scene from multiple injuries.


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Toxicology evidence suggested his decision making ability may have been affected by his use of prescription and non-prescription medication.

In a written statement, delivery driver Yvonne Smith said she witnessed the accident as she approached the A47 from Manor Road.

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'I can say 100 percent that the driver [John Carpenter] was looking to the right, in the direction of the approaching lorry,' she said.

She said she was attempting to cross over the A47 in her van to Grange Road, and saw Mr Carpenter's car pull out.

'I remember thinking the car was going to drive into my side,' she said.

'Suddenly, about two seconds later, I heard a loud bang, expecting the car to hit my van, but I did not move.'

Mark Pitts, who was driving the blue DAF articulated lorry, was travelling below the 60mph speed limit prior to the crash, the inquest heard.

In a written statement, he said he was around '10 to 12' yards away from the junction when the car pulled out without warning.

Mr Pitts said he immediately applied the brakes.

'As my vehicle pushed the car along the carriageway, it rolled around two-and-a-half times in front of me,' he added.

While the passenger in his cab rushed out to help, Mr Pitts immediately called the emergency services.

The inquest heard there was evidence Mr Carpenter was not wearing a seatbelt.

PC Jamie Hutchin, who put together a collision report, said the weather was dry and sunny at the time of the accident.

He said the lorry driven by Mr Pitts was fitted with an on-board camera, which caught the crash.

Data from the vehicle showed it was travelling at 48mph prior to the accident, slowing to 35mph immediately before the crash.

'Mr Pitts reacted quickly to the emerging Vauxhall,' Mr Hutchin said. 'This is evidenced by the video footage.

'The point Mr Carpenter chose to emerge, left Mr Pitts with insufficient time and distance to avoid a collision.'

A toxicology report found concentrations of zopiclone, morphine and methadone in Mr Carpenter's system.

Dr Tim Rice, a GP at Theatre Royal Surgery in Dereham, said Mr Carpenter was prescribed zopliclone - a sleeping pill - and morphine for chronic back pain.

The inquest heard there was no record of him being prescribed methadone.

The toxicology report said the combination of all three drugs could lead to cognitive impairment.

Senior coroner, Jacqueline Lake said she was satisfied the drugs would have affected his 'decision making ability'.

She said she was also satisfied that 'there was nothing Mr Pitts could do' to avoid the collision.

The cause of death was given as a road traffic collision.

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