A 26 year old Milton Keynes man died after driving at ‘excessive speed’ and crashing into a lorry on a blind bend in the Cotswolds, an inquest heard yesterday.
Lithuania born Audrius Sinkevicius was one of two people who died in the tragedy on the A429 at Fossebridge, nr Cirencester on July 23, 2015.
He was driving his Vauxhall Astra and his friend Louis Head, 24, of Bushy close, Milton Keynes - who is now serving a 30 month jail term for causing his passenger Richard Michie’s death by dangerous driving - was behind him.
The court heard that Mr Sinkevicius was driving at speed downhill. He crossed onto the wrong side of the road round a blind bend and hit the articulated lorry coming the other way. He was not wearing a seat belt so was thrown from the car onto the grass verge.
The inquest heard that the lorry driver had seen a van behind him and was expecting it to overtake as they reached a two lane section of the road.
He then looked ahead to see an oncoming car in his lane.
He said the car’s wheels were smoking and the car was skidding.
“It was in my lane and a collision was inevitable” he said.
The post mortem revealed that Mr Sinkevicius had suffered numerous injuries including a skull fracture and a penetrating brain injury on his right side. The pathologist recorded cause of death as multiple fractures and contusions and a penetrating brain injury.
Dr Jonathan Glover attended the scene and noted a right head injury as well as respiratory problems in Mr Sinkevicius. Resuscitation was unsuccessful and Mr Sinkevicious was pronounced deceased at 2:30am.
Jeremy Thomas, who lives nearby, said he had been asleep but at about 1:10am he heard a “loud bang like an explosion.”
He went downstairs and saw the living room window was smashed. He opened his front door and saw the crash scene so asked what he could do to help before proceeding to get lights and return to find a man lying on the grass.
The boot and driver’s side of the Astra had considerable damage, he said.
PC Simon Edwards, Collision Investigator, said that on that stretch of the A429 between Northleach and Cirencester there is a single lane for southbound traffic and two lanes northbound to assist the overtaking of slow moving vehicles.
PC Edwards said the the Astra was driving down the hill in single lane traffic from Northleach. Outside Hillside Cottage there is a right hand bend and then an acute left bend.
He said: “The weather was fine and dry and it was twilight as the sun did not rise until 5:16 at that time of year. The road was in average condition and the road signs were in order. There was no artificial lighting. It is a dark unlit road.”
PC Edwards confirmed the speed limit for that particular stretch of road is 40mph. He said the evidence of skid marks on the road suggested the Astra driver came round the right hand bend and saw the left hand bend which led him to brake suddenly.
“As he begins steering to the left and braking he loses control and the car starts to rotate. We estimated he was travelling at a speed of approximately 55-68mph,” said the officer.
“The lorry saw the Astra travelling sideways so applied emergency braking. At the time of impact the Astra would have been travelling at approximately 37mph. It had rotated 180 degrees for 2.7 seconds.
“As the car wrapped around the front of the lorry, the rear axle broke away. The damage to the car meant the door opened and as the driver was not wearing a seat belt he was thrown from the car onto the grass verge which is where he received his fatal injuries,” PC Edwards said.
When asked by the coroner the circumstances that led to the collision and how the other car was involved, PC Edwards said “There is evidence from phone records that both vehicles were travelling together but there is nothing to say the collision of the Astra was in any way influenced by the Audi.”
PC Edwards confirmed the lorry driver was driving in a safe and normal manner and there was nothing to say he had contributed to the collision.
He concluded that although the maximum speed a car could take that bend is 69mph in ideal conditions, the reason Mr Sinkevicius lost control was because “he was driving too fast whilst negotiating a bend.”
Assistant Coroner, Caroline Saunders said “Mr Sinkevicius was driving in his car towards Cirencester when he approached a section of the A429 where it has double bends and a slope. The opposite side of the road has an extra lane in it for overtaking.
“He was driving above the speed limit and ends up in the opposite lane although there is no indication as to why.
“He probably sees the headlights of the oncoming lorry and applies brakes at speed. The combination of speed and negotiating the bend meant he collided with the lorry.
“He showed signs of life but had a cardiac arrest and died at scene. I agree with the pathologist that he died from multiple injuries that he sustained as a result of the collision. Therefore I record a conclusion of Road Traffic Collision.”