A father-of-one who was nearly four times over the legal alcohol limit died instantly when the car he was driving smashed into a tree following a police pursuit.
Darren Hollingsworth, aged 38, suffered fatal injuries to his chest and fractures to his ribs, pelvis and leg after crashing his white Vauxhall Corsa van at 64mph on unlit Yewtrees Road in Bolsterstone.
Darren, of Midhopestones, Sheffield, had been pursued by a police car with its blue lights flashing after officers suspected he had caused criminal damage on Kenworthy Road in Stocksbridge.
After following him for a short distance officers gave up the pursuit but 30 seconds later found him unconscious in the crashed van.
He was pronounced dead at the scene just after 1.30am on Saturday, August 18, last year.
A Sheffield inquest heard from his ex-partner Michaela Martin, who said she had moved out from the house they shared the day before the crash - but had not told him because he had been drinking in a pub.
“I didn’t tell him, I just moved out,” she said. “I went to talk to him but he’d had a bit to drink so I just left. He must have got home and realised I had gone.”
Darren later went to Michaela’s sister’s house in Kenworthy Road and smashed all but one of the windows of her car before the police pursuit began.
PC David Francis, who drove the police car - and who witnesses said was visibly upset at the scene - told assistant deputy coroner Julian Fox he felt it right to pursue.
“That was the decision I made at the time,” he told the inquest. “I’m very proud to be a police officer and felt it was my duty to find out who the person driving was.”
PC David Mason, who was with him, said: “I believe it was a perfectly reasonable decision to pursue.
“I could have called it off at any time but I was more than happy to let him continue.”
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.