Man died in A19 crash after Audi driver attempted to overtake him and lost control

A man died in a car crash in North Yorkshire after another driver attempted to overtake him and lost control in a puddle of water.

Brian James was driving to work in heavy rain on the A19 near South Kilvington when an Audi A4 crashed into the side of his Peugeot 206.

An inquest into the mill worker’s death heard his car veered off the road and hit some trees before flipping onto its roof.

The 49-year-old from Northallerton suffered severe head and chest injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by an off-duty paramedic, at 6.08am on October 8 in 2020.

Brian James was driving to work in heavy rain on the A19 near South Kilvington when an Audi A4 crashed into the side of his Peugeot 206.

Daniel Green, who was driving the Audi, said water was “being kicked up” off the road by Mr James’ car and obscuring his view, so he thought it would be “safer to overtake him” at around 70mph.

“I speed up a little bit because I want to overtake him. I’m pretty much level with him – as I get level, my car aquaplanes, I feel the steering wheel get light and it knocks into the side of his car,” he told the inquest.

“I came to a standstill, I put my hazards on and I contacted the emergency services – I called them and told them what happened.”

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Mr Green, who was not injured in the crash, was driving to Burton-on-Trent for work that morning, but said he was not in a rush or speeding.

Forensic collision investigator Steven Gardner said it was dark, as there were no street lights, and there was “an extremely heavy downpour” and standing water on the road.

He said the investigation found Mr Green “lost control” of his Audi after hitting a patch of water, which then collided with the rear wheel of the Peagout and knocked it off the road.

He also said there were “no defects” found on either vehicle, which could have caused the crash.

The inquest was told patches of standing water are always found on the carriageway during periods of heavy rain, but the gullies were cleared in July 2020 and civil engineers carried out an inspection of the carriageway in October but found no serious defects.

Jonathan Heath, Senior Coroner for North Yorkshire, recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision and said there was no need for a Prevention of Future Deaths report.

“Water on the carriageway was the cause of Mr Green’s vehicle losing traction. The rain that morning was very heavy,” he said.

At the inquest, Mr James’ partner Karen Shaw paid tribute to him.

She said: “Brian and I had been together for 26 years. He was hard working and always had to be doing something. He loved fishing and gardening and would help anyone else who needed it. I loved Brian so much.”