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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Car driver died as he and lorry tried to avoid collision

A driver died after a car and a lorry crashed as they tried to avoid each other, an inquest heard.

Iain Bell photo
Iain Bell

Iain Bell, 40, was killed following a crash on the A595 near Mealsgate, Wigton, on June 3 last year.

The former Carlisle Pirelli tyre factory worker and Haltwhistle resident had been driving to work at the Sellafield nuclear complex in his Toyota Land Cruiser when the crash happened at about 4.45am.

He died at the scene.

The driver of the HGV was Ronald McCammon, 52, from Hartlepool, who had been travelling to Wigton.

He told the inquest in Cockermouth: “When I first realised Mr Bell was in my lane my reaction, at this point, was to move onto the other side of the road.”

However his action was mirrored by Mr Bell, who he said moved with him onto the same side of the road.

He added that both drivers again swerved avoid each other and it was then that they collided.

Mr McCammon collided with a telegraph pole and was able to escape from his cab with only minor injuries. Mr Bell suffered multiple injuries, which led to his death.

He was brought up in Great Broughton and attended Cockermouth School, which he left aged 16 to become an apprentice at Sellafield.

He qualified as an electrical engineer and worked at a number of different places, including a brief spell with Pirelli in Carlisle and time at the former Chapelcross nuclear power plant, near Annan.

He had returned to Sellafield in 2008 as a self-employed contractor, where he worked as a construction manager.

He met his wife Linda, 63, in 1999 while she was landlady of the Spotted Cow Inn in Haltwhistle.

They married soon after.

Mr Bell spent his weekends in the town before driving to work early on Monday mornings, staying with family during the week.

Mrs Bell told the court her late husband was “a very good, excellent driver” who held HGV and motorcycle licences in addition to his car licence.

She questioned Mr McCammon’s version of events.

“I know Iain’s driving and I know how careful he was,” she said. “He had been driving on that road since he was 17 and I can’t see any evidence or any proof that he was on the wrong side of the road.”

She added: “He was the love of my life, just a really lovely guy. He would help anybody if he could.”

Police collision investigator PC Richard Wiejak told the court there was evidence such as tyre marks and vehicle paint on the road to suggest both vehicles had swerved.

He also said evidence suggested Mr Bell had not used his brakes and Mr McCammon had only applied his immediately before the crash.

Neither driver had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Coroner David Roberts, presiding, said: “In these circumstances, all that can be said is that these vehicles collided while both were close to white lines on the road.”

He concluded that Mr Bell died as the result of a road traffic collision.

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