Much-loved dad who was twice drink-drive limit died after horror crash with lorry

A much-loved dad who was almost twice the legal drink-drive limit died after a collision with a lorry.

Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 4:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 4:20 pm

Michael Strafford, 51, died following the three-vehicle crash on the A619 in Whitwell on August 31 last year.

The dad-of-two was not wearing a seatbelt.

At his inquest at Chesterfield Coroners’ Court on Wednesday, March 21, assistant coroner for Derbyshire, Kathryn Hayes, said: “He was clearly a man who had a lot going for him. Perhaps a reminder to us all of the dangers of driving with excess alcohol.”

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The court heard that Mr Strafford, a company director of Get Fresh Juice in Clowne, had just made a delivery of oranges to Arrow Farm Shop, near Worksop, before the collision happened at about 7.15am.

Mr Strafford, driving a Ford Transit van, pulled out from the farm shop driveway into the carriageway in front of oncoming traffic and was in collision with a 38-tonne large goods vehicle and then a wall.

Mr Strafford, of Mosborough, South Yorkshire, suffered severe injuries and died at the scene.

Toxicology tests showed Mr Strafford had 159 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

The driver of the large goods vehicle, Roger Parsons, was travelling below the 50mph speed limit and had no time to react.

He also took action to avoid a serious collision with other vehicles - including a Vauxhall Combo van - which suffered minor damage.

In his statement, the driver of the Combo van, Mark Roberts, a self-employed electrician, who was travelling with a passenger, said: “I think that if the lorry had not swerved out of my way that Paul and I would be dead.”

A police report described the collision as ‘unavoidable’.

The court heard that Mr Strafford was a ‘big drinker’, in particular whisky, and this had worsened following the breakdown of his marriage.

Mr Strafford’s sister, Joanne Jenkinson, described him as a ‘kind, warm-hearted and familly-oriented’ man.

Summing up, Ms Hayes, said: “It is extremely lucky that Mr Parsons was able to react in the way that he did so that no other fatalities occurred.”

She added: “Mr Strafford simply misjudged the road due to his alcohol intake.”

Ms Hayes recorded Mr Strafford’s death as road traffic collision.