Sheffield man who died in crash 'fell asleep' and veered into oncoming traffic

A Sheffield man who died in a head on collision fell asleep at the wheel moments before his death, an inquest heard.

Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 2:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 3:10 pm
Inset: Reece Parkin died on the A616 Stocksbridge bypass (pictured) after he fell asleep at the wheel, an inquest heard

Reece Parkin, aged 21, of Bradfield, was killed instantly after veering on the other side of the road into the path of an oncoming delivery van along the A616 Stocksbridge bypass.

The inquest, at Sheffield Medico-Legal Centre, heard Mr Parkin was travelling to work from his girlfriend's address in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, on the morning of February 11, 2017.

The inquest was heard at Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre

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The court heard the airbag 'didn't deploy' in the blue Vauxhall Astra the 21-year-old was driving and he 'wasn't wearing a seat belt'. The driver of the FedEx van was taken to hospital but did not suffer any serious injuries.

Christopher Dorries, senior coroner for South Yorkshire West, described Mr Parkin's death as a 'tragic accident'.

Toxicology reports read out by pathologist Dr Simon Suvarna, revealed the 21-year-old had 'traces of cannabis' in his system but Mr Dorries ruled this out as a 'contributing factor'.

The pathologist added there were no injuries to suggest a seat belt had been worn.

The inquest was heard at Sheffield's Medico-Legal Centre

Paying tribute, Mr Parkin’s parents said they ‘missed their son terribly’ and were 'in the process of rekindling their relationship'. They added he was an 'aspiring mechanic' who loved cars.

John Armitage witnessed the crash and gave evidence in court. He was travelling behind Mr Parkin at the time of the collision.

The blue Astra had overtaken Mr Armitage's Volkswagen Amarok in the outside lane at a 'normal speed' prior to the crash.

He said: The road is two lanes and then it goes into one. He was a few hundreds yards in front at this point.

"He started to gradually veer to the left towards the barrier for what seemed to be a reasonable amount of time.

"I initially thought he had lost concentration then he seemed to gain control again and gradually changed direction but then he kept going over the other lane. There was no sudden change of direction and I didn't see any brake lights.

"It was quite a fast impact."

Collision investigation branch PC Adrian Burgoyne, now of West Yorkshire Police, said from the evidence he had gathered, a 'prolonged distraction' or a bout of 'micro sleep' could've caused the crash.

"There was nothing to indicate from the scene any harsh steering or braking. There was no physical evidence to suggest any of that," he said.

PC Paul Lidster from the serious collisions unit at South Yorkshire Police said there was 'no record from the DVLA' that Mr Parkin had a driving licence and he wasn't insured to drive the blue Vauxhall Astra involved in the collision.

Dad David addressing Mr Dorries said: "I don't understand about the seat belt. He would always remind me to put mine on."

Addressing Mr Parkin's parents, Mr Dorries said: "I can only guess if the airbag and sea beat could've saved him. We don't know.

"I think what's actually happened is Reece has fallen asleep. This has got all the makings of it.

"This was an accident, pure and simple.

"I'm very sorry to meet you here. What am I supposed to say to parents who have lost their young son? I can only offer my sincere condolences."

Mr Dorries recorded a conclusion of accidental death.