A MOTORIST who died following a near head-on road crash north of Carlisle may have been distracted by a low-flying helicopter seconds beforehand.
An inquest today (WED) heard how 41-year-old Jamie Lindsay was driving a Volkswagen Polo northbound towards Longtown on the A7 at around 4pm in October 9 last year.
Other motorists travelling on the road saw a red low-flying helicopter containing a crew working on behalf of Electricity North West carrying out routine electrical tower surveys.
Dash-cam footage taken from an HGV travelling behind the Polo captured the car drifting on to the near side grass verge before travelling back across the A7 and into the southbound lane. It collided almost head-on with a southbound Land Rover Discovery, which rolled over on impact. Driver John Williamson later told police how the Polo “seemed to appear out of nowhere”.
Eyewitness Keiki McGurty, driving towards Longtown, noted the helicopter flying “really low” overhead, and reported that “every car started slammed their brakes” to see the aircraft. Asked by police who she thought was to blame for the road accident, Miss McGurty stated: “The helicopter. At one point I thought it was going to land on the road.”
Company director Mr Lindsay, of Gosport, Hampshire, died at the scene from multiple injuries. A Cumbria police collision investigator concluded the crash occurred as a result of either – or a combination of – Mr Lindsay being distracted by the low-flying helicopter or his concentration and reactions being affected by alcohol he had consumed prior to the accident.
Having heard all evidence, senior Cumbria coroner Kally Cheema concluded Mr Lindsay died as a result of a road traffic collision.
A tribute released by Cumbria police following his death stated: “He will be sadly missed by his husband, family and friends.”