Over the limit driver died in smash after police pursuit

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A father-of-one who was nearly four times over the legal alcohol limit died instantly when the car he was driving smashed into a tree in Bolsterstone following a police pursuit.

Darren Hollingsworth, aged 38, of Midhopestones, suffered fatal injuries to his chest and fractures to his ribs, pelvis and leg when crashing his Vauxhall Corsa van at 64mph on unlit Yewtrees Road.

He had been pursued by a police car with its blue lights flashing after officers suspected he had caused criminal damage on Kenworthy Road in Stocksbridge.

After following him for a short distance, officers gave up the pursuit but 30 seconds later found him unconscious in the crashed van. He was pronounced dead at the scene just after 1.30am on August 18 last year.

A Sheffield inquest heard from his ex-partner Michaela Martin, who said she had moved out from the house they shared the day before the crash - but had not told him because he had been drinking in a pub.

Darren later went to Michaela’s sister’s house in Kenworthy Road and smashed all but one of the windows of her car.

PC David Francis, who drove the police car told assistant deputy coroner Julian Fox he felt it right to pursue. “I’m very proud to be a police officer and felt it was my duty to find out who the person driving was.”

PC David Mason, who was with him, said: “I believe it was a perfectly reasonable decision to pursue.”

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.