Chesterfield man, 91, died after accidental collision with police car, coroner rules

The scene on Loundsley Green Road on September 4 last year after the collision.
The scene on Loundsley Green Road on September 4 last year after the collision.

A 91-year-old Chesterfield man died as a result of severe injuries he suffered from an accidental collision with a police car, a coroner ruled.

Dennis Wilson, of Blandford Drive, died on September 4 last year after being struck by a police vehicle, which was responding to an emergency, on Loundsley Green Road, Chesterfield.

The inquest at Chesterfield coroners’ court on Friday heard that widower Mr Wilson, a former coal miner, was on his routine morning walk when he reportedly stepped out into the road without looking. Mr Wilson also had hearing problems.

An independent investigation concluded that the driver of the police vehicle, Pc James Carroll, was not at fault.

Recording an accidental verdict, assistant coroner for Derbyshire, Peter Nieto, said: “It appears from witness evidence that Mr Wilson stepped into the road without looking in either direction.

“The police officer was making an urgent response after it was feared somebody was at risk. He was driving 20mph above the speed limit but this was permitted under the road traffic legislation.

“There are some discrepancies as to whether the police vehicle’s sirens and lights were operating but in my opinion they were in operation.

“This was an accident.”

At 8.05am on September 4 a 999 call was received from a member of the public to say that an elderly neighbour was shouting for help.

Pc Carroll was dispatched and he was travelling on Loundsley Green Road towards Holme Hall when his car was in collision with Mr Wilson just before 8.25am. Mr Wilson was pronounced dead just after 8.50am. A post-mortem found he died of chest injuries.

Pc Carroll had been driving at 60mph on Loundsley Green Road, 20mph above the speed limit for that road. However, guidelines state that a standard police officer responding to an emergency incident can travel 20mph above the speed limit.

Pc Carroll braked hard and the point of impact was said to be 52mph.

A statement read out on behalf of the officer by Mr Nieto said: “Pc Carroll perceived that this gentleman was not looking and he was walking very purposefully, without hesitation. He braked hard to try to stop the car which still had its lights and sirens going. He had very little room for manoeuvre because there was a problem with oncoming traffic which would have put others at risk.”

A number of witness accounts said they saw Mr Wilson step out into the road. There were discrepancies over whether they heard a police siren. Mr Nieto said that Pc Carroll’s actions were consistent with local and national guidelines.

Mr Wilson was described by his daughter-in-law, Wendy Wilson, as an ‘independent man who loved his routine’.