Father-of-two dies in crash with lorry
MYSTERY surrounds the death of a van driver who was killed after he suddenly veered into the path of a lorry.
The family of father-of-two Alan Prince have been left still searching for answers after an inquest failed to discover what caused the crash.
The 60-year-old, from Highgate Close, Crewe, was fit and healthy and had not been drinking or taking drugs before his blue Vauxhall van drifted into the path of the articulated lorry on the A500.
And crash investigators found no evidence of mechanical faults with the vehicle.
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Yesterday's inquest heard how the driver of the lorry looked the victim in the eyes just moments before the collision, which happened at Barthomley at around 6.54pm on April 24.
Mr Prince's wife Janet, aged 55, said her husband had learnt to drive during his time in the Army.
The nurse said: "During that week he was working in the Birmingham area and we were expecting him home at 7pm.
"He telephoned to say that he was setting off and he seemed absolutely fine. There was nothing worrying him.
"That was the last time that I would speak to him. When it got to 8pm and he wasn't home I started to worry and rang my son."
Witnesses said they saw Mr Prince's van drift into the middle of the carriageway between the M6 and Nantwich, into the lorry's path.
Mr Prince, who was driving at around 50mph, hit the lorry almost head-on, despite the other driver's attempt to swerve.
HGV driver Maksym Korgul, from Crewe, turned his Scania lorry into a ditch to try and avoid the van, striking two trees in the process.
He said: "I noticed the van and for a split second he had pulled out to the right.
"But I thought he was looking to see if the road was clear.
"The next second he drove straight into my load. I tried to take evasive action by avoiding him but it didn't work."
Asked whether he could remember the other driver Mr Korgul said: "Yes, I can remember his face exactly.
"He kept his hands on the steering wheel and looked right at me.
"After the crash I couldn't catch my breath as I had smashed into two trees."
Paramedics arrived and flipped the van over as they tried to free Mr Price from the wreckage.
An incident responder for the North West Ambulance Service told the hearing: "We arrived to find a man trapped upside down in his vehicle.
"He was barely breathing and we decided to turn the vehicle upright, but he deteriorated further."
The inquest heard how driving conditions were dry and clear at the time of the collision, which happened in daylight.
Dr Geoff Roberts, Assistant Deputy Coroner for Cheshire, recorded a narrative verdict and said any efforts to explain the collision would be 'speculation'.
He said: "One of the puzzles behind the cause of this collision is what has caused it.
"Mr Prince, for whatever reason, didn't seem to take any evasive action.
"There were no brake lights and there was no material reason for this incident.
"This is a collision that happened without rhyme or reason.
"Alan Prince died as a result of injuries sustained in a collision on the A500 Barthomley.
"I think anything else would be speculative, and it is not our place to be speculative."