Former Buntingford car mechanic seen ‘staggering around’ on A1(M) prior to fatal collision
PUBLISHED: 15:09 20 December 2013
A motorsport enthusiast who died after a collision with a car on the A1(M) had been seen “staggering around” on the motorway prior to his death, an inquest heard yesterday (Thursday).
Anthony Humphreys, who used to work as a car mechanic at Blakeney Motorsport in Buntingford, died in August after colliding with a Vauxhall Corsa on the southbound carriageway near junction 6 for Welwyn.
The 25-year-old, who later became the co-director of Datum Motorsport, had been walking along the motorway after attending a barbeque in the village.
Coroner Edward Thomas told Hatfield Coroner’s Court that the collision was completely accidental, with nothing more the driver – Jessica McIntrye – could have done to prevent it.
Pc Jacqueline Lister stated that the police received two reports at around 12.20am on August 11, of a pedestrian “staggering around” on the side of the A1(M), with “no clear indication of where he was going”.
Warning signs were subsequently displayed on the A1(M) asking motorists to reduce their speed to 50mph, and police believe Miss McIntyre was driving at around 45mph when the car collided with Mr Humphreys.
Miss McIntyre had been driving home from seeing a film in Stevenage with her friend, Carmen Timoney, who was in the passenger seat at the time.
Pc Gary Burn said that the 12 minutes of CCTV footage prior to the collision showed that Mr Humphreys – who lived in Stevenage – was topless, wearing dark trousers, and was showing a lack of co-ordination and sense of direction.
About the collision, Pc Burn said: “The driver reacted slightly better than most of us would, they were travelling at an acceptable speed and there was nothing else she could have done.”
Mr Humphreys was treated at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, before being taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge – where he died of traumatic head injuries the following day.
A blood sample was taken for transfusion purposes, from which a significant substance of alcohol was found, which would have seen him two times over the normal driving limit.
Mr Thomas read out a witness statement from Mr Humphreys’ friend of almost a decade, Thomas Robinson, who had attended the barbecue earlier that day.
The statement said: “Anthony liked a drink when socialising, and on this occasion he had a lot more to drink than anyone else. Anthony was the type of person who did not tell people when he was leaving and I can’t remember the last time I saw him.”
Before recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Edwards said to Miss McIntrye and Miss Timoney: “I hope that today has removed any lingering doubt in your mind that there was anything you could have done to avoid this accident.
“Poor Anthony’s death is tragic. He was much-loved by his family and friends.”