Jury rules death of man crushed between lorry and dumper truck was an accident
A jury has ruled that the death of a construction worker who became trapped between a lorry and a dumper truck was an accident.
Jason Hickman, 47, had been trying to connect a tow chain between the 26-tonne lorry, which had become stuck, and the dumper truck at a site in Watlington, west Norfolk. The dumper truck driver’s foot slipped off the brake causing the vehicle to “lurch backwards”.
A jury of 10 people unanimously decided that the death, on December 14, 2017, was an accident.
On Monday, February 14 the inquest into his death at Norfolk Coroner’s heard evidence from Peter Easter, the driver of the Jewson lorry and Dale Anderson, a colleague of Mr Hickman’s who had been driving the dumper truck at the time of the incident.
Giving evidence Mr Easter said he drove into the site assisted by Dale Anderson and it was after unloading and trying to leave the site the vehicle became stuck in mud.
Mr Easter said after getting out of the lorry he told Mr Anderson that he would call the Jewson office to arrange vehicle recovery but that it was suggested the lorry could be pulled out by a dumper truck.
Mr Easter said: “I was standing at the back of the lorry trying to get hold of [the office] when next thing I realised there was a dumper reversing into the back of my lorry.”
Mr Easter said he was asked if he carried chains on his vehicle but he didn’t. It was then that Mr Hickman appeared with a tow chain.
He said: “Mr Hickman arrived with some chains and the dumper truck reversed to the lorry about a metre away. Mr Hickman attached the chain at the back, bending down he asked the [dumper truck] to back up a little bit.
“I don’t know what happened but the dumper just shot back, and I saw Mr Hickman fall between the two lorries,”
Mr Anderson who was in the cab of the dumper truck said: “I got into the dumper, started it up with my foot on the brake, released the hand break, put it into reverse and as I turned around to see where I was going my foot slipped off the brake,”