Family warning to drivers on text tragedy
The family of a Bridlington man who died in head-on collision while texting at the wheel have urged others to not to risk the same fate.
Shaun Worthington, 29, of Windsor Crescent, Bridlington, died when his Audi car collided head-on with a tipper lorry on the A614 near Haisthorpe on November 19 last year. An inquest heard how Mr Worthington’s mobile phone was recovered from the wreckage of his car, and revealed that he had sent a text message at 1.04pm which was the same time as the collision, as recorded by a camera on the lorry.
But the inquest heard that the standard of his driving would also have been affected by fatigue, because Mr Worthington had worked a 12-hour nightshift before going to a speeding drivers’ awareness course in York that morning.
Collision investigation officer Alfred Place said the camera, which was fitted on the lorry’s windscreen, had recorded the final moments prior to the collision when Mr Worthington’s oncoming Audi made “a steady drift” into the lorry’s carriageway.
While the lorry driver can be seen to swerve and brake, reducing speed from 44mph to 22mph in two seconds, Mr Worthington did not take any action until “a very late stage,” said Mr Place.
He said both fatigue and distraction would have contributed to the collision, adding: “He only realises when it’s too late to carry out any meaningful collision avoidance measures.”
Motorist George Richardson, in a statement read to the inquest, said he saw the aftermath of the collision which caused smoke, debris and dust. He said: “I had formed an opinion from the wreckage that the driver wouldn’t be walking away. Most of the driver’s side of the Audi was gone.”
Consultant histopathologist Dr Lazlo Karsai, who carried out a post-mortem, said death would have been instantaneous from multiple traumatic injuries.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, senior coroner, Professor Paul Marks said drivers should use hands-free accessories. He added: “They should never read or compose texts, but should pull over to do so.”
Following the inquest, Mr Worthington’s mother Jane Allen, repeated the coroner’s message, and said driver’s should also beware of driving when tired. She said: “I don’t want another mother to have to go through what I’m going through, or another sister or brother or father. It’s just such a big part of our lives that’s been wiped out in the blink of an eye.”
Mrs Allen said her son normally used a hands-free kit when driving, but that he had recently bought a new phone which wouldn’t fit.
Sister Andrea Ward said her brother had been awake for almost 24 hours prior to the crash. She said: “You might think you’re just sending a simple text message, but when something tragic happens it’s your life.”
Tributes poured in on Facebook following the death of Mr Worthington who worked at worked at C&D Foods in Driffield.