Man dies after two-year coma
September 27, 2007
A GREAT Hollands man who died after spending two years in a coma after being stuck by a car at a pedestrian crossing could have survived if he had looked carefully, an inquest heard.
James Carswell, 53, of Wordsworth, drank around seven pints and shared one-and-a-half bottles of wine with three work colleagues before the accident at Euston Road junction in London.
The car, a K to M registration blue Vauxhall Astra, has still not been found.
PC Peter Loader, of the Met Police, said a Ford Fiesta in the middle lane of the junction may have obscured Mr Carswell and he should not have attempted to cross.
He said: “This collision could have been avoided if he had waited for the green man to be illuminated.
“I think it’s common knowledge that alcohol affects people’s judgment and reaction times.”
Detective Sergeant Mark Hine, also of the Met Police, said in his statement: “He could have avoided the collision if he had observed the traffic lights.”
Andrew Scott, Mr Carswell’s friend and colleague who was with him on the night of October 26, 2005, said: “We had about six or seven pints and two bottles of wine at the meal, but only drank one-and-a-half.
“He was merry but I wouldn’t say he was drunk.
“We got to a pedestrian crossing and when we crossed the first two lanes the lights were red.
“When we came to the second lane after the island the green man was just changing.”
Mr Scott said Mr Carswell was “rushing on to get to the other side of the road”.
He added: “There was a blue car just behind the Fiesta and it accelerated hard to the crossing.
“It carried him on the bonnet for a short distance.
“The car slowed down to about five miles per hour, so he definitely would have known he had hit James.”
Mr Scott said the blue vehicle with tinted windows then “accelerated hard away”.
A statement by David Bell, another friend and colleague of Mr Carswell, said he heard a “whoosh” sound as if the blue car was “turbo-charged” as it travelled through the crossing and struck Mr Carswell.
Mr Bell listed a number of reasons why the driver must have known he had struck Mr Carswell, including the sound of the impact, the damage to the car such as a missing wing mirror, and the fact he slowed down before accelerating away.
A statement from the driver of the Fiesta, Paul Rendell, said he had to make an emergency stop in the centre lane of the crossing to avoid Mr Scott and Mr Carswell.
He said a blue car struck Mr Carswell on the driver’s side, slowed down, and then carried on driving.
Mr Carswell died on Tuesday, April 17, of aspiration pneumonia at Bridge House Nursing Home in Twyford.
Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford said at the inquest, held at Windsor Guildhall last Thursday: “What is clear is the evidence is remarkably consistent. The only slight issue perhaps is if the car changed lanes.
“That’s not unreasonable because the lane was clear. It seems likely it saw the Fiesta and changed lanes.
“I can’t ignore the evidence that the Fiesta may have masked the pedestrian on the crossing.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Bedford added: “It must have been awful for the family that he was unconscious for so long and sadly, after a long time, passed away.”