Former bus driver died after chasing runaway dog on to main road
A RETIRED bus driver died after being in collision with a car when he chased his dog on to a main road.
Robert Gerrard, who had been an alcoholic for 40 years, had been due to go into rehab the day after the accident.
The 61-year-old died at the Royal Derby Hospital after the collision in Swarkestone Road, Barrow upon Trent, on January 6 this year.
His long-term partner, Helen Capper, told Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court: "A lot of the time people would not have known he had a drinking problem.
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"He didn't take undue risks when he was under the influence.
"He was looking to the future and wanted to get his life back on track."
She said that she had driven Mr Gerrard to Barrow upon Trent to drop off their dog, Millie, at some kennels but, when Mr Gerrard opened the car door, the dog ran away.
She said: "He went to get Millie. I heard a massive bang. It never crossed my mind that it was an accident."
Mr Gerrard, of High Street, Chellaston, died of multiple injuries the next day.
Car driver Satnam Dhamwait told the inquest: "It happened so fast. A dog ran across the road and I was distracted by the dog. I do not remember seeing Mr Gerrard. I have nightmares about the accident. I can't sleep. I didn't have time to put on the brakes."
Mr Dhamwait said that, by the time he had looked forward after seeing the dog, he had already been in collision with Mr Gerrard.
Harry Benfield told the inquest he had seen Mr Gerrard standing in the middle of the road before the collision waving his arms in an apparent attempt to stop cars on either side of the carriageway.
Deputy coroner Louise Pinder, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, told the inquest that Mr Gerrard had almost three times the drink-drive limit of alcohol in his system – "a significant amount" – but did not believe it was a factor in his death.
PC Shaun Downing, a forensic collision investigator with Derbyshire Police, said Mr Dhamwait had been travelling at about 33mph on the 40mph-limit road.
PC Downing said a reconstruction of the collision was carried out and the driver did not see the pedestrian until the last moment.
He added he was concerned about the adequacy of the street lighting at the scene, as the accident happened at 5.30pm.
Ms Pinder said the street lighting on the road could have been a factor in the collision but she "would not make any formal recommendations for the council".