Mercedes driver who died after crashing into pond was more than four times over drink-drive limit
PUBLISHED: 14:33 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:16 31 July 2020
A father who drowned after his Mercedes car crashed into a pond was more than four times the drink-drive limit, an inquest has heard.
Stephen Jennions, 51, from Hill Road in Spooner Row, near Wymondham, died on February 3 on the B1172 London Road, Suton, between Wymondham and Attleborough, after 12.45pm following a collision with a Vauxhall Mokka car near Eleven Mile Lane.
Witness evidence heard during the inquest, at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on July 30, revealed Mr Jennions, who wore a seat belt, was driving erratically towards Attleborough before pulling out onto the opposite side of the road into the path of the Vauxhall.
Area coroner Yvonne Blake concluded that the retired private investor, who had two children, aged three and 12, died as a result of a road traffic collision.
Consultant histopathologist Professor Richard Ball said Mr Jennions had 386mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - the legal limit is 80mg per 100ml.
His partner, Thaise Vierra, said she found two empty wine bottles in the bin on the morning of the collision and added: “He became a different man after drinking alcohol.”
She spoke to him on the phone around 8.30am that day and told him he sounded drunk.
“He hung up quickly”, she added.
Ms Vierra said her partner was not an alcoholic and had left the house around noon that day.
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In a written statement from PC Paul McKay, who carried out the forensic collision report, said the 60mph road was straight, weather conditions were dry and the Mercedes had no defects.
The Vauxhall, which landed on its roof, also had no defects and the driver was not at fault.
He said the 51-year-old was wearing a seat belt and his mobile phone was not recovered from the pond.
PC McKay said: “The high levels of alcohol would have seriously impaired the ability to drive.”
Rachel Simmonds, who was driving the Vauxhall towards Wymondham, and her husband escaped from their car with minor injuries.
She attempted to pull over to a verge before flashing her lights at Mr Jennions’ car after seeing him drive towards her.
Witnesses saw him drive close behind a vehicle and drift in and out of the opposite lane before the crash which caused the Vauxhall to “fly into the air”.
The Mercedes ended up almost completely submerged in the private pond and despite attempts to open the doors and rescue him by members of the public and firefighters he died at the scene.
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