'Combination of factors' led to Chesterfield man's death as he crossed road, inquest hears

The late Arthur 'Budd' Wass.
The late Arthur 'Budd' Wass.

A 'combination of factors' led to the death of a much-loved Chesterfield grandfather, a coroner has ruled.

Pedestrian Arthur 'Bud' Wass, 82, died after a collision with a Range Rover on Whitecotes Lane, outside Walton Hospital, on the evening of December 29 last year after he had been to see some friends.

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On Friday, Chesterfield coroners' court heard the retired watchmaker - who was dressed in dark clothes - 'failed to identify' the Range Rover as he crossed the road, which had 'very poor' street lighting at the time.

Lesley Atkinson, who was driving the Range Ranger, told the inquest in a written statement: "Everything happened so quickly.

"I didn't see anyone - and all of a sudden I heard a bang from the front of the car.

"I realised I'd hit something but didn't know what it was.

"I stopped and found a gentleman on the floor.

"He was wearing all dark clothing."

Mrs Atkinson said she then called 999. She was subsequently interviewed by police under caution.

PC Nick Bettney, a forensic collision investigator with Derbyshire Constabulary, concluded that the Range Rover was being driven at around 35mph, 'marginally above' the 30mph speed limit.

He said two other vehicles were travelling in the opposite direction and the glare from their headlights would 'definitely have affected Mrs Atkinson's ability to see Mr Wass'.

There were no defects with the Range Rover which would have contributed to the incident and Mrs Atkinson was not impaired by either drink or drugs at the time of the collision, PC Bettney found.

He added: "At the time, the street lighting was very poor - the lamps were quite dated.

"The street lighting was changed around five days after the collision - this wasn't because of this incident, it was all pre-planned.

"Mr Wass was wearing dark clothing - the Highway Code states that pedestrians should 'at night, wear something reflective to make it easier for others to see you'.

"He would have been very difficult to identify for a driver.

"He failed to identify the approaching Range Rover - which had headlights on - and continued to cross the road.

"The driver was unable to react as she couldn't see Mr Wass.

"I'm of the opinion that this collision was inevitable and unavoidable."

Coroner Susan Evans concluded that Mr Wass, of Belvedere Avenue, Chesterfield, died in a road traffic collision as a result of a 'combination of factors' outlined by PC Bettney.

After the tragic collision happened, Mr Wass' daughter Geraldine and son-in-law Mick said: "Arthur, known as Bud to friends and family, was a much-loved dad and grandad.

"A retired watchmaker, Bud had lived in Walton since 1964.

"He was an avid walker as well as enjoying politics, rugby and classical music.

"Bud was a doting father to his daughter Geraldine and son-in-law Mick and was a beloved grandad to Emma and Daniel who he loved to spend time with."

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