A coroner has warned of the dangers of driving after drinking the night before following the death of a Haverhill man.
Peter James, 26, was found to been over the drink-drive limit after his car crashed in the town’s Homefield Road on December 15 despite it being at least eight hours since he left a Christmas party.
An inquest heard that Mr James’ family said taking to the road while still having alcohol in his system was “completely out of character” for him.
An inquest at Bury St Edmunds today (Wednesday) heard that Mr James’ car went out of control on a wet road and struck sideways into a tree.
Mr James, of Brybank Road, Haverhill, was cut from the wreckage by firefighters and treated by paramedics and a doctor but they were unable to save him and he was declared dead at the scene.
A post mortem examination confirmed that death had been due to multiple injuries while
tests showed that the level of alcohol in Mr James’ blood was higher than the drink-drive limit.
Police accident investigator Pc Andy Fossey said no defects with either the car or the road surface could be found which would have contributed to the accident.
However, Pc Fossey said he believed that Mr James had been travelling faster than the
30mph speed limit and had lost control on a left-hand bend, veered off and rotated before colliding with the tree.
Pc Fossey said: “The most likely cause of the collision would be an application of harsh steering.” The presence of alcohol in Mr James blood was also likely to have been a contributory factor.
In a statement, Mr James’ wife Lucy said he had come home from a Christmas party at about 3.15am before leaving home in his car at about 11.30am. Later she had to identify his body.
The inquest heard that Mr James’ family said taking to the road while still having alcohol in his system was “completely out of character” for him.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “The tragedy of this particular set of circumstances is it emphasises the need for anyone to be aware of the fact that even if hours have elapsed since they stopped consuming alcohol, the effect of alcohol can affect their driving ability the next day.”
Dr Dean said motorists needed to exercise “utmost caution” about driving the day after drinking alcohol.