Maintenance stepped up on busy road where young Sheffield man crashed to death

Sheffield Parkway, close to the spot where Jonathan Sellman crashed and died
Sheffield Parkway, close to the spot where Jonathan Sellman crashed and died
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Maintenance has been stepped up on a busy road where a young Sheffield man crashed to his death, an inquest heard.

Jonathan Sellman, aged 22, died after his car came off Sheffield Parkway in heavy rain on Easter Monday last year and rolled down an embankment, where it lay hidden for several hours.

Sheffield Coroner's Court today heard gullies along that stretch of road in Rotherham, just over the border from Sheffield, are now cleared four times a year rather than three, as happened before the tragedy.

But Richard Jackson, highways assets and drainage manager for Rotherham Council, told the court the road's gradient meant that even if some gullies were blocked water would naturally drain away.

He added that tests carried out days after the fatal collision showed the drainage system was working, and an independent expert had found no fault with that stretch of road.

Before Mr Sellman's death, Mr Jackson said the gullies were routinely cleared every April, July and October.

Since then, he said they had also been cleared in January, despite national guidelines only requiring yearly maintenance.

The inquest also heard how lessons learned from another fatal collision in Sheffield appear not to have been applied in neighbouring Rotherham.

Sean Salvin, aged 20, died after crashing into a tree on Woolley Wood Bottom in Sheffield during heavy rain in December 2015.

An inquest found better communication between the council, police and other authorities may have flagged up sooner that the road was prone to flooding at that site.

Liaison between the relevant authorities was subsequently improved in Sheffield, but senior coroner Christopher Dorries today said he was surprised similar steps had not been taken in Rotherham.

Mr Sellman, an assistant restaurant manager who lived on Langsett Road, in Sheffield, crashed at Catcliffe, near junction 33 of the M1 motorway, on his way to work.

The court heard yesterday how a policeman had momentarily lost control after hitting a patch of water near the same spot that morning.

Another driver lost control and crashed into the central reservation there just three months before the fatal collision.

A policewoman who attended the earlier crash told the inquest on Tuesday how there had been two inches of water on the carriageway that evening before she cleared debris blocking the gullies.

The inquest was adjourned until August 16, when Mr Dorries will announce his conclusion.