Disqualified driver "paid the ultimate price" after head-on smash

The A638 near Ackworth close to where Curtis Smith died.
The A638 near Ackworth close to where Curtis Smith died.
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A disqualified driver who had illegal drugs in his system "paid the ultimate price" when his car crashed head on with a 4x4 two days before Christmas, an inquest was told.

Curtis Smith suffered multiple internal injuries and died at the scene of the smash on the A638 at Ackworth after his Peugeot 206 veered into the wrong lane on a bend and collided with the Ford Kuga coming the other way.

The 26-year-old dad-of-one was also not wearing a seat belt at the moment of impact, shortly before 11.30am on December 23, 2017.

The inquest into his death was held at Wakefield Coroners' Court today where it was heard that Mr Smith had consumed cocaine and amphetamine in the hours before the crash, which would have put him over the drug driver limit.

Mr Smith, of Royston Road, Cudworth, had been driving a modified but road-legal blue Peugeot 206 that had no defects.

However, the standard steering wheel had been replaced with a racing steering wheel that had no airbag, while there was no evidence that he was wearing the racing-style harness that had been installed to replace the standard manufacturer's belt.

Giving evidence, the driver of the Ford Kuga, Elaine Braim, who suffered minor injuries in the crash said: "I did not get a chance to look at the driver, I just saw the blue bonnet.

"I thought it was the end, there was no way out. He did not slow down or swerve. I could not comprehend it."

The inquest was told that Mr Smith had been banned from driving in July 2015 for dangerous driving through drink or drugs and would not have been eligible to have his licence back until October of this year.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Wakefield's senior coroner, Kevin McLoughlin said: "The evidence indicates that Curtis Smith should not have been driving.

"For whatever reason we have not been able to ascertain why his vehicle crossed the road and collided head on with another vehicle.

"Matters were exacerbated because he was not wearing a seat belt, and as a consequence suffered massive injuries.

"It's immensely sad for the parents and is clearly a tragedy for the family.

"I would be failing in my public duty if I did not record that he should not have been driving when he was disqualified and had consumed drugs.

"He has paid the ultimate price.

"There's a lesson that cries out that people should not consume drugs or alcohol and drive motorcars."

Mr Smith's family had paid tribute to him in the days following his death.

They said: " As a family, words cannot begin to describe the loss we are all feeling following the tragic accident.

"Curtis leaves behind a young son and a very heartbroken family who will all miss him very much."