Woman killed by ‘sleepwalking’ driver who drove at ‘excessive speed’ after 14-hour shift
An “amazing” female was eliminated by a “sleepwalking” motorist who drove at “excessive speed” following a 14-hour shift, an inquest heard.
Peter Sinclair, 55, left a path of damage in Handforth, Cheshire, when he suffered a “nocturnal seizure” after working his shift triggering him to drive while asleep.
Mr Sinclair crashed his cars and truck 3 times while driving at “excessive speed” on the incorrect side of the roadway on the early morning of May 21, 2018, and hit pedestrian Helena Faith Randall, 29, as he drove through traffic signals.
Mrs Randall, referred to as a “very positive girl” with an “fantastic” marital relationship, passed away later on that early morning at Royal Salford Hospital.
At an inquest kept in Warrington on April 6, previously Assistant Coroner Peter Sigee, the court heard how Mrs Randall was struck by a car while crossing at a traffic signal regulated junction near Handforth train station.
Mr Sinclair informed the court that he had actually suffered a nighttime seizure, which triggers sleepwalking and uncommon unconscious behaviour, back in 2014.
The medical episode, which can happen while asleep or while sleepy, was the very first time any such occurrence occurred to Mr Sinclair and he quit his driving license acting upon his physician‘s advice.
But 18 months later, he regained his license after reapplying to the DVLA, despite still at that point receiving care from a neurologist.
The Stockport man told the court that he did not suffer another episode until the day of the fatal collision.
On May 20, 2018, Mr Sinclair had started a night shift at 5pm, at a local supermarket and finishing 14-and-a-half hours later at 7.30am on the morning of May 21.
On the journey home, Mr Sinclair crashed into a Jaguar but carried on driving.
He continued along the road, where he then collided with Mrs Randall, who was crossing at the traffic lights.
The Fiesta, driven by Mr Sinclair, again continued to travel along the road and eventually came to a stop following a third crash with a parked car outside Handforth Garage.
Mr Sinclair was still taking medication in relation to the seizure at the time of the incident.
He told the court that he “felt fine” at work and that it was “just a normal shift” and that he was “ready to go home.”
The court heard written evidence from Police Constable Mark Howitt of Cheshire Police, who was one of the officers on the scene.
PC Howitt said a large group of members of the public were stood around Mrs Randall and were “extremely distressed”.
They shouted that the driver of the vehicle had crashed further up the road,
Staff at the garage were using a jet wash to extinguish the fire within the engine bay.
He asked Mr Sinclair if he was driving the car, to which he replied “yes”.
PC Howitt then arrested him and put him in handcuffs.
After Mr Sinclair he was asked if he had anything to say he replied: “I was just driving along.”
PC Howitt described Mr Sinclair‘s behaviour as being “strange” and that “he appeared unable to comprehend what had happened”.
A breathalyser and drug check was conducted, both of which came back negative.
‘State of automatism’
It was reported at 9.50 am that Mrs Randall had actually passed away upon arrival at Royal Salford Hospital and PC Howitt more jailed Mr Sinclair on suspicion of triggering death by hazardous driving.
A couple of minutes later on he asked why he had actually been jailed. Mr Sinclair was later on required to health center for a check-up due to issues he had actually suffered a medical episode while driving. The court heard a composed report by Mr Hassan Curranbokis, who performed an analysis of Mr Sinclair’s blood.
The just compounds that were discovered within Mr Sinclair’s blood was medication that he was recommended, with Mr Sigee including that there was “no evidence before me to suggest that that medication was directly involved in any causative way with this incident”.
Mr Sigee stated the medical proof shows that Mr Sinclair was driving in a “state of automatism” – a legal term explaining behaviour that happens when an individual is unconscious and uninformed that the act is happening.
Mr Sigee stated: “The available medical opinion indicates that the driver was in a state of automatism at the time of the collision due to a medical event he could not have reasonably foreseen. ” I am pleased that the suitable conclusion for me to reach is that Mrs Randall passed away as an outcome of injuries suffered in a roadway traffic accident.”
Speaking at the inquest, Mrs Randall’s mum, Claire Elwers, described her daughter as a “happy, strong, independent character”.
She told the court her daughter had an “amazing” relationship with husband Luke, whom she met at Lancaster University. Mrs Elwers added: “She was rather fantastic. You could not be unpleasant in her existence. She was a really favorable woman.”
This post initially appeared in The Sun and was republished with authorization