‘There was nothing you could have done’ lorry driver told at crash inquest

A retired builder died after crashing his car into the side of a lorry as he attempted to join a major road, an inquest heard today.

Maurice Fowler, of Chalk Road, Walpole St Peter, was driving a Land Rover Freelander in the early hours of August 31 when it hit a Volvo lorry on the A17 close to the junction with Market Lane, near Terrington St Clement.

An inquest held at King’s Lynn County Court heard Mr Fowler, 72, made no attempt to slow down as he travelled along Market Lane before crashing into the lorry driven by Paul Lingwood.

Speaking at today’s hearing, Mr Lingwood said: “As I came towards the junction [with Market Lane], I saw the vehicle on my left-hand side. I didn’t know how fast the vehicle was going but it was getting closer and closer and I was concerned.

“I thought he would have seen me, a big truck with its lights on but he just didn’t stop.

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“I didn’t see any brake lights at all and then he hit me on my near side. I ended up on the other side of the road with two lorries coming towards me.”

Lawrence Murphy, who was driving one of the lorries on the other side of the road, had also seen the vehicle approaching the junction without decelerating.

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He told the hearing: “I just thought he wanted to get in front of us because we were holding up a bit of traffic.”

PC Wendy Frary, collision investigator, said there were no mechanical defects with the silver Land Rover Freelander or the Volvo HGV it crashed into.

“It is my belief, Mr Lingwood did all he could and was unable to avoid the collision,” she said.

“It is unknown why the Land Rover went into the Volvo. I can only conclude that he either failed to see the lorry or having seen the Volvo misjudged his distance and speed.”

Recording a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic collision, Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said: “It is a puzzle why Mr Fowler drove towards the main road, making no attempt to slow down. It is something that cannot be explained and remains a mystery.”

Speaking directly to Mr Lingwood, he later added: “There was nothing you could have done. Had it not been for your expert driving, there could have been further casualties.”

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