Widower tragically killed in front of grandson

A grandad was tragically killed after he crashed into an oncoming bus while driving his teenage grandson to a swimming club, an inquest heard today.

Raymond Adkins, 77, of Gardiner’s Close, Churchdown, had his 14 year old grandson William in the front passenger seat of his Land Rover Discovery as he drove him along the A38 at Norton, near Gloucester, on February 24.

But suddenly and for no apparent reason, widower Mr Adkins swerved across the central white line into the path of an oncoming double decker bus.

The dad of three and granddad of six suffered injuries from which he died shortly after the collision, Gloucestershire Coroners Court was told.

Gloucestershire coroner Katy Skerrett recorded an accidental death verdict, saying it would never be known what made him move to the wrong side of the road.

The collision had been graphically described to the inquest in a statement made by William which was read to the coroner.

In it he said his Grampy picked him up from home in Wainlodes to take him to his swimming club at Cascades in Tewkesbury which started at 6.30pm.

William said he was playing games on his iPhone but talking to Mr Adkins at the same time about such things as football – Mr Adkins was a keen Cheltenham Town fan.

We were on a straight stretch of road about a mile and three quarters away from home. I looked up to see what was happening and I saw a bus coming the other way, a massive bus. I thought we were quite far over. I don’t know why Grampy was on the wrong side of the road. I remember Grampy trying to swerve away from the bus to try to avoid it. Grampy moved the steering wheel quickly to the left. I thought we’d got out of the way of it but we hit the front of the double decker. It could not have been head on as the airbags did not go off. Straight after the accident Grampy sat back in his seat and dropped his arms by his side lifeless, just gone.

William said he called his mother on his mobile phone and she arrived at the scene and attempted to give Mr Adkins CPR until paramedics arrived.

The bus driver Piotr Florecki, who came to the UK from Poland in 2004 and qualified as a public service driver in 2006, said he was driving from Tewkesbury to Gloucester with about six passengers on board when the collision happened.

All of a sudden an oncoming car with dipped beam on drifted across the broken white line into my path. I couldn’t understand as there were no cars in front of him or pushbikes. It must have drifted three-quarters into my lane. I started braking and slowing down, turning to the left to avoid a collision. The car flashed its headlights at me. I took avoiding action by mounting the nearside kerb and pavement and grass verge. I remember hitting some branches of a tree. He must have been moving back to his side because when I hit him he was half in his lane and half on my side.

A post-mortem report said no medical cause could be found for Mr Adkins to drive as he did.

Collision investigator Pc Phil Reese also said he could not find any reason for Mr Adkins crossing the central white line where he did.

Recording an accidental death verdict the coroner said “This was a tragic accident caused by a momentary bad manoeuvre when crossing the central white line.”