Pensioner died after stepping into path of transit van in Church Stretton, inquest told

A coroner concluded that he found it "hard to see what the driver could have done" to avoid colliding with an 84-year-old man who stepped into the path of a van.

Sandford Avenue at the A49 junction. Photo: Google
Sandford Avenue at the A49 junction. Photo: Google

Retired lecturer Geoffrey Buchanan Smith died as a result of the collision with a Ford Transit after he stepped out into the road at the A49 light-controlled crossing at A49 Crossways after visiting a grocery shop and a chemist in Church Stretton town centre, an inquest heard today.

"It is hard to see what the driver could have done to avoid a collision," said senior coroner John Ellery, speaking at the Shirehall, Shrewsbury hearing. "He must have stepped into the path of the van and there was no chance to avoid a collision."

Neighbours of the man told the inquest that they had seen their friend becoming less mobile and "more wobbling" over time and that it was an "accident waiting to happen." The assumption was that he was walking home to Hazler Road with bags of grocery from the Co-op and a prescription from Rowlands Pharmacy.

The inquest was told that the first time the driver of the Shrewsbury bound Ford Transit saw Mr Smith was when he "hit the windscreen".

"He had very little time to react," said Mr Ellery. A police investigation concluded that there was "no evidence that the crossing was used as it was intended."

The driver was only able to start braking after the collision and took 24 metres to come to a standstill. The van had been in the correct lane, driving within the 30mph speed limit, had no mechanical defects that could have contributed, and the weather and lighting at 4.25pm on Thursday December 16 also did not play a part.

Mr Smith, who lived in Church Stretton, died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, on December 19, and the inquest was opened on December 22.

Mr Ellery recorded that Mr Smith died as the result of a road traffic collision.

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