MYSTERY still surrounds the death of a 32-year-old man whose car swerved from one side of the road to the other before being hit by another car and then a lorry on the A1 north of Alnwick.
The inquest into the death of Alexander Gibson, known as Alec, heard that he may have deliberately moved into the path of the oncoming car or that other factors such as tiredness may have played a part, and north Northumberland coroner Tony Brown recorded an open verdict.
Mr Gibson, of Sunnyside Crescent in Tweedmouth, died from major injuries, including to the head, in the collision one-and-a-half miles north of the Denwick junction at around 7.30pm on Monday, November 14, last year.
Mr Gibson was driving northbound on the single-carriageway section of the A1 in a Peugeot 406 when he moved across into the southbound lane.
A Toyota Rav 4 travelling south then tried to avoid him but Mr Gibson’s vehicle moved back into the northbound lane and collided with the Rav 4.
Mr Gibson’s vehicle ended up in the southbound lane with no lights on after the electrics were damaged and it was then hit by a DHL lorry. A fourth vehicle, a Suzuki Ignis, was following the HGV and tried to avoid the rapidly decelerating lorry but collided with it, although this was a minor collision.
PC Paul Johnson, of Northumbria Police’s Collision Investigation Unit, told the inquest that while ‘the exact reason may never be known’, he believed the collision was ‘purposely initiated’ by Mr Gibson.
In a witness statement, Dr Fraser Quin, the driver of the Rav 4, said that Mr Gibson made ‘a definitive movement from lane to lane’ rather than swerving.
Mr Gibson was known to have suffered from mental health issues but a risk assessment carried out on October 26 concluded there was a low-level risk of him causing himself serious imminent harm.
Mr Brown said: “It does not appear to me Alec had expressed an intention to take his own life.”
In recording an open verdict, he said that while there was the suggestion that Mr Gibson’s actions were deliberate, there were ‘a number of reasons why he might have moved into southbound lane and back into the northbound lane’, pointing to factors such as his ‘extreme tiredness’.
“There are too many uncertainties and other possibilities that might have explained his death,” he added.
Evidence from the police investigation suggested that Mr Gibson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was killed by the first impact with the Rav 4, which took place at a far higher speed than the collision with the lorry.
All four vehicles were examined and there were no mechanical defects while there was no indication that any of the drivers were using mobile phones. All four had full driving licences and valid insurance.