Fatal Sheffield crash man was ‘sleep-deprived’

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A SLEEP-DEPRIVED dad-of-two had been taking anabolic steroids before he caused a head-on collision which killed himself and another man, an inquest heard.

Plant operator Daniel Lee Smith, aged 27, ignored road traffic markings as he drove home from a night shift along the A616 Stocksbridge Bypass on June 22 last year, crashing into Mark Pickering.

Another car, a red Rover, was also involved.

Both Mr Smith, of Langold, near Worksop, and Mr Pickering, 47, of Hoyland, Barnsley died instantly.

A double inquest at Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre heard statements from motorists using the stretch of road just after 6am on the day of the incident.

They reported Mr Smith driving in the middle of the road past a number of vehicles as traffic towards Sheffield was reduced to a single lane.

Expert officers from South Yorkshire’s road policing unit estimated Mr Pickering’s grey Transit van was travelling at around 54mph, while Mr Smith’s white Vauxhall van was doing 64mph.

Witness Terrence Boyce said: “A white van came quite close behind me. Coming down the hill he overtook me - I was doing 60mph - and my immediate reaction was, ‘Good Lord’. About two seconds later, the crash happened.”

A post-mortem examination carried out on Mr Smith revealed evidence of the use of anabolic steroids, which pathologist Dr Kim Suvarna said could have been a contributing factor in causing the incident.

He said: “The sample showed anabolic steroid usage had taken place in the recent past. The psychological effects of steroids could have been a factor contributing to the events because it might have affected how he conducted himself on the road.”

The inquest also heard Mr Smith, who had been travelling to Widnes to work on the train station six nights a week, was likely to have been suffering sleep deprivation due to his shift and sleeping patterns.

Police officers said Mr Pickering and a fellow passenger, who suffered minor injuries, were both wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. Mr Smith was not.

Deputy assistant coroner Donald Cutswood recorded a verdict of accidental death for Mr Smith and recorded a narrative verdict for Mr Pickering.

He said: “Mr Pickering was in a head-on collision with another vehicle that was travelling in contravention of road traffic markings that separated opposing traffic by a double white line system.”