Jogger stumbled into path of lorry
A jogger was killed instantly when he stumbled into the path of an articulated lorry, an inquest heard in Preston.
Visiting businessman Jan Kroll suffered catastrophic head injuries when he lost his footing on a grass verge and fell into the road, just as an HGV was passing.
The 30-year-old project engineer from Germany had been dressed in dark clothing and was out running on an unlit stretch of Wigan Road, Bamber Bridge, at night, assistant deputy coroner Sian Jones was told.
Returning an accidental death conclusion, Ms Jones said she was satisfied it had been a sad coincidence of timing that Mr Kroll fell into the road at the precise moment the lorry was passing.
“He suffered massive and unsurvivable injuries instantly and died at the scene,” she said.
“The driver saw these events unfold and did what he could to avoid a collision. But unfortunately he was not able to do that.”
The inquest was told Mr Kroll, a father-of-two children aged two and five, had been on a business trip to the Leyland plant of frozen pizza company Dr Oetker from its head office in Bielefeld, Germany, in December last year when the accident happened.
He was identified from DNA taken from a toothbrush in his hotel room.
Consultant pathologist Dr Stephen Mills said the cause of death had been “severe trauma to the head.” There was no trace of either alcohol or drugs in his body.
Lorry driver Barry Crawshaw said he had been driving along Wigan Road and had just gone under a motorway bridge with his headlights on full beam when he noticed a figure in dark clothing coming towards him on the nearside grass verge.
He said it looked as if the figure “stumbled like he had tripped over something and began falling.” Mr Crawshaw tried to swerve towards the centre of the road, but couldn’t avoid a collision.
Accident investigator PC John Birch said the lorry had been driving within the speed limit and Mr Krull had been dressed in dark running gear on an unlit stretch.
It was possible, he said, that he could have been dazzled by the headlights and the driver had been unable to avoid him.