Stroud man, 26, had drunk six pints of lager before car careered off bridge
3:54pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A MAN died after crashing his car through the barrier of a Cirencester bridge before landing roof first on the busy A429 road below, an inquest has heard.
Robert Andrew Massey, 26, known to his friends and family as Robbie, died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on July 28 2012 from multiple injuries that he sustained from the crash.
The court heard evidence from Victoria Curtis, a barmaid at the Golden Farm Pub in Cirencester, in which she said that Mr Massey had drunk up to six pints of Kronenbourg 1664 lager from about 11.30am onwards on the day of the accident.
Miss Curtis said that when she returned for her evening shift, at around 6pm on July 27, she could tell Mr Massey was drunk as he was giggling and talking loudly.
Shortly after their encounter, Miss Curtis recalled how she heard a massive crashing noise coming from the road close to the pub.
Nicola Risby, who was walking present at the incident, said the car was travelling at high speed and out of control before clipping the pavement and going through the bridge’s barrier.
She said: “Everything happened so quickly. What I saw was horrendous. Although, I do not drive I could tell the car was being driven over the speed limit.”
PC Simon Edwards, formerly of the collision investigation team with Gloucestershire Police, told the court that Mr Massey was not wearing a seatbelt and was one and a half times over the drink drive limit when he crashed.
He said: “I think it is highly probable that the alcohol had affected Mr Massey’s ability to drive the car. The alcohol he drank would also have impacted in his ability to react.”
PC Edwards said that had Mr Massey been wearing a seatbelt the outcome of the accident would not have changed.
Concerns were raised at the time of the accident as to the effectiveness of the barrier on the Beeches Road bridge.
Phil Raven, structures manager at Gloucestershire Highways, which looks after the county’s bridges, told the court that a number of routine inspections had been carried out on the barrier in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
He said that the bridge passed all its inspections and that no problems were ever raised that warranted urgent attention.
Mr Massey’s car impacted the barrier head-on at a 50 degree angle, but the court heard that the barriers can only stop vehicles that impact at an angle of less than 20 degrees.
Mr Massey's girlfriend Hayley McGrath was also in the car at the time of the crash but did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
Tom Osborne, assistant coroner for Gloucestershire, concluded that Robert Massey died as a result of a road traffic collision.
He said: “It seems that the nature of his driving at the particular time was erratic, he lost control and unfortunately went through the barrier of the bridge and landed on the road surface below.”