Family of Cefn Mawr man may never know what caused fatal crash

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

THE family of a “very much loved” man have been told it is not known what caused the crash in which he died.

Concluding an inquest into the death of David Lea Cartwright, coroner John Gittins said a lack of forensic evidence at the scene of the crash on the A541 near Pontblyddyn meant it was impossible to say what had caused it.

But Mr Gittins said speed had not contributed to the crash in which 31-year-old Mr Cartwright died.

Mr Cartwright, of Cae Coch, Cefn Mawr,  was driving his red Volkswagen Bora to work at Tesco in Mold for a late shift at about 9.50pm on March 15 last year.

The car collided with a large tree before coming off the road onto an embankment.

Mr Cartwright was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was revealed at an inquest held at Ruthin that the vehicle underwent a full investigation which showed headlights had been altered and there was evidence of low tyre pressure.

But there were no “significant” mechanical problems which would have been a “contributing factor in the collision”.

A previous hearing had been adjourned due to a contradictory statement given by Jason Ireson, who said he was first on the scene following the crash.

He said he had “flagged” down Katie Stone in her car to help at the scene, but she told the inquest she stopped to help of her own accord.

Miss Stone said she saw Mr Ireson’s vehicle parked up and debris in the road, which made her feel “there was a problem.”

Appearing via videolink, Mr Ireson said he had been on his way to work when he came across Mr Cartwright’s car.

He said it had left the road but still had the headlights on.

Mr Ireson said he had been driving at between 30 to 40 mph and was on the phone to work via hands free to let them know he was running late, but stopped when he came across the crash.

He maintained he flagged down Miss Stone, and said three other cars had passed the scene of the crash before he managed to get her to stop.

According to Mr Ireson, he had been walking down the middle of the road when Miss Stone came to a halt.

But Miss Stone’s evidence suggested Mr Ireson had still been in his car when she arrived on the scene.

Prior to that, he said he had been unable to open the front doors of the car and could not see in because the windows and windscreen were smashed.

When Miss Stone arrived, Mr Ireson said he went back to the car and got in through the rear passenger’s side door.

Mr Cartwright was “unconscious” in the driver’s seat.

Mr Ireson told the inquest it was Miss Stone who had called 999 because he had just got a new phone and was not sure how to use it.

He did not know how long before he came across Mr Cartwright’s car that the crash happened.

At a previous hearing, PC James Nobbs, of the North Wales Police collision investigation unit, said: “The only evidence of loss of control was immediately before the car veered off the road.

“Evidence would suggest Mr Cartwright was an experienced driver familiar with the road as this was his route to work.

“It [the collision] was caused by the driving actions of Mr Cartwright but the exact causes remain unknown.”

A post-mortem examination was carried out by Dr Mark Atkinson, consultant pathologist at Glan Clwyd Hospital, who confirmed the medical cause of death was a head trauma caused by a road traffic accident.

Recording a conclusion of death by road traffic collision, Mr Gittins said: “It is worth noting that the evidence I have heard made it very clear to me there was no suggestion that speed played a part in this crash.

“If it had, the vehicle would have left the carriageway in a different place to where it did.

“The sad reality is we don’t know what caused the crash and we can’t know.

“This is a gentleman who was very much loved and will be missed. I imagine all of you have wonderful memories of Mr Cartwright.”

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