Death-crash driver high on cocaine

The A1167 between Scremerston and Tweedmouth.
The A1167 between Scremerston and Tweedmouth.

A Berwick man was speeding at around 100mph moments before he was killed in a collision with a combine harvester, an inquest has heard.

John Paul Currie, a 35-year-old father-of-two, died at the scene of the collision on the A1167 between Scremerston and Tweedmouth.

The hearing in Berwick on Monday also heard that the IT consultant was under the influence of cocaine when the collision happened, just after 7.30pm on September 23, 2016.

Tony Brown, senior coroner for north Northumberland, said: “Toxicology examinations show cocaine levels which would have impaired John Paul’s judgment, reaction time and ability to drive competently.”

The inquest heard that minutes before the collision, farm contractor Richard Stott had parked the combine harvester in a lay-by on the A1167. He walked across the road to unlock a farm gate. He returned to his cab and began to make the turn into the field when he was hit by Mr Currie’s Audi S4.

Mr Stott, an experienced combine operator, told police he hadn’t seen Mr Currie.

The inquest heard that Mr Stott might have been made aware of an approaching vehicle if he had an attendant with him, as he sometimes did, but on this occasion he did not.

PC David Martin, collision investigator, said there were several faults with the combine and its trailer but, in his view, this was not a contributory factor to the collision. The combine had its lights on and was flashing warning lights.

PC Martin said: “Mr Currie was travelling far in excess of the speed limit while under the influence of cocaine which would have had an impact on his ability to comprehend the situation in front of him.”

Mr Brown concluded that Mr Currie died as a result of a road-traffic accident.