Police had been warned of flooding danger on night young Sheffield man crashed and died, inquest hears

A young Sheffield man crashed and died on a waterlogged road shortly after police had been warned about the 'horrendous' conditions, an inquest heard.

Sean Salvin with his father Craig
Sean Salvin with his father Craig

Sean Salvin, aged 20, lost control of his car and ploughed into a tree while driving along Ecclesfield Road, on a stretch known as Woolley Wood Bottom, in heavy rain on December 30, 2015.

Sheffield Coroner's Court today heard how another motorist had called police just half an hour earlier and suggested the road should be closed due to flooding.

In the call, made at 9.56pm that night, the man explained how his car had just spun on the road where he said his girlfriend had 'nearly lost her life' in an earlier crash.

"There's no bit of that road that's not flooded, and it's not been closed down," he told the operator.

"...It's only half a foot to a foot deep in certain places, but it's enough to make cars spin out if you don't know the road."

The court heard the details were passed to Sheffield Council's highways department and to local police shortly after the call ended.

Police records provided to the coroner showed there had been two crashes leading to injuries along that stretch of road in the space of three years.

On November 21, 2014, two people were taken to hospital following a crash between two cars, one of which had skidded. A police account of the collision, read out in court, described a 'torrent' of water at the scene.

On December 3, 2015, a woman driving home from Meadowhall shopping centre in the rain had 'aquaplaned' and crashed into a muddy bank, the inquest heard.

The woman, who escaped injury, said one of the police officers attending the scene told her there had been 'plenty' of similar crashes due to poor drainage on the road, including one involving an off-duty police officer.

Sean's father Craig Salvin told how his son had been returning home after playing football on the night he died.

He described Sean, who had worked for the family cleaning company since the age of 15, as a 'happy lad'.

"He never did owt wrong. He just wanted to play football. He was a very hard-working lad," he added.

He said the conditions on the night of the crash were 'pretty horrendous' but that the road would often flood in heavy rain.

Mr Salvin provided video footage, which was played in court, of Ecclesfield Road following downpours on the night his son died and on subsequent occasions early last year.

In some of the scenes, motorists could be seen sending plumes spraying several feet into the air as they drove through the water.

More than 2,500 people signed a petition following Sean's death calling for safety improvements to be made along Woolley Wood Bottom and for the speed limit to slashed from 60mph to 40mph.

The court heard how debris had been removed from the roadside on March 9 last year in an attempt to prevent flooding.

The inquest continues.