A 22-YEAR-OLD Somercotes man killed in a car crash had drunk three times the legal limit and taken amphetamine, an inquest has heard.
Richard Salmon lost control of a Peugeot 106 and crashed through a garden wall on Nottingham Road, Alfreton, on August 7.
The car came to rest upside down against a builders’ skip and caught fire. Richard was dragged clear of the burning vehicle by two men but he had died from head injuries.
Front seat passenger and former girlfriend Natalie Roads survived the 1.30am crash, suffering a broken nose after possibly being struck by the body of Mr Salmon, who had not worn a seatbelt.
Richard’s girlfriend at the time, Kimberley Woolley, told the Chesterfield inquest he drank one and a half pints of beer on the afternoon of August 6 and later went out alone, taking her car without her knowledge.
He asked his former girlfriend for a cigarette but she did not have any. He was driving her to a garage to buy some when the crash occurred.
Miss Roads said she had asked him to calm down because he was speeding and it scared her but the car swerved and hit a wall. She could not remember much after that except for walking home, having a bath and going to bed.
“I was covered in blood. I had a bang to the head,” said Miss Roads. She apologised to Mr Salmon’s mother for leaving the scene, saying: “I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Motorist Andy Hill stopped at the crash scene. His passenger, Jon Cass, knew Mr Salmon, who was lying inside the Peugeot, which was leaking fuel. Mr Hill phoned emergency services and, as flames spread into the car, Miss Roads climbed out and Mr Cass pulled the driver clear, helped by passer-by Dan Somers.
Police collision investigator Chris Ronayne estimated the Peugeot was travelling at 45mph in a 30mph zone before brushing the nearside kerb on a bend. He believed Mr Salmon “over-corrected” his steering and the car slid across the road into the wall. He said the driver’s reactions would have been slower because of the amount of alcohol consumed.
It was believed that an electrical short-circuit caused a spark, igniting fuel from the damaged fuel pipe or tank.
Deputy North Derbyshire coroner Nigel Anderson recorded a verdict of accidental death on Mr Salmon, of Ward Drive. He said: “The speed he was going at was not colossal but he was three times the limit and on top of that he had had some amphetamine. All this would have impaired his judgment and reaction time.”
He praised Mr Cass and Mr Somers for “putting their lives on the line”.