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Truro driver killed on A30 had been clubbing into the early hours

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 01, 2013

  • Mike Flaherty

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A TRURO man had been out night-clubbing with friends before he lost control behind the wheel on the A30 and was then killed by an oncoming car, an inquest heard.

The hearing into the death of Mike Flaherty, 20, from Newbridge Lane, heard the Asda store worker had been drinking at bars in the city and was last seen at The Office nightclub at 2am on August 27 last year.

At 3.35am he was heading to Redruth on the A30 in his BMW when he lost control and crashed into the central reservation, spinning his car until it stopped side-on in the path of oncoming traffic. Police forensic collision investigator, MPC Glynn Griffin, said at Tuesday's inquest that Mr Flaherty put on his hazard lights and left the car.

He said there was no evidence he had been using his mobile phone or that another vehicle was involved. A postmortem examination showed he was 1.75 times over the legal drink-drive limit.

Shortly after the initial accident, a Toyota Land Cruiser, being driven by Michael Hollyoak, from Camborne, struck the stationary BMW near the Avers roundabout.

Mr Flaherty was dragged along the ground and died instantly from multiple injuries.

PC Griffin said he believed Mr Flaherty had been standing at the side of his BMW, near the grass verge, when the collision happened, although he said the evidence was not conclusive.

He said there was no evidence he had been thrown from his car during the impact, and that the driver's door had been open when it was struck.

Semi-retired lorry driver Mr Hollyoak said he had not seen the BMW's hazard lights.

He told the investigator: "The car was across the road. You reference hazard lights as though they were beaming. They weren't bright at all, it was pitch black ... I came round the bend and saw the shape of a car and I slammed on my brakes."

PC Griffin told the court that if Mr Hollyoak's reactions had been quicker the accident could have been avoided.

With the victim's parents at the hearing, his mother, Beverley sobbing throughout, PC Griffin said: "The BMW had six hazard lights, four of which could be seen no matter what direction the car was facing.

"It is reasonable to expect Mr Hollyoak to react within one to two seconds. He reacted too slowly and should have been able to stop within 100 metres of the BMW.

"He was travelling at significant speed when he reached the BMW and took evasive action too close to the car, which is not what you would expect from a reasonable, competent driver."

Coroner for Cornwall Emma Carlyon recorded an open verdict, saying the events leading up to Mr Flaherty's death were inconclusive.

After the hearing Mr Flaherty's father, Pete, said: "I just want it to be over. Nothing can bring him back."

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  • TheGeofflane  |  December 02 2013, 11:49AM

    Poor old Mr. Hollyoak is all I have to say. Criticised by PC Griffin - 'Not what you would expect from a reasonable, competent driver'. And one more, far too young driver, clubbing and drinking and driving, kills himself, wrecks his car and another man's life. We are all at risk from young drivers in powerful cars. Driving curfews have been suggested but nothing is done. Poor Mr. Flaherty and family too. Wonder if I'd stop in time, coming round a corner in the dark to be confronted by a car sideways on in the road? We aren't all police-trained advanced drivers. Drive carefully this Christmas as we'll read of other 3a.m. disasters.

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