We’ll never know what led to death

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A Chorley motorist died in a horrific road accident just minutes after being involved in a minor dispute with the other driver.

Paul Smith, 35, from Wigan Road, Euxton, was travelling with his three-year-old daughter when the tragedy took place.

His Honda Civic was in collision with a Kia Sedona on the A59 Liverpool Road in Much Hoole, close to the San Marco restaurant at the junction with Liverpool Old Road.

Mr Smith, a car salesman, died at the scene after suffering multiple injuries while his daughter escaped with a fractured collarbone.

Preston Coroners’ Court yesterday heard evidence from the driver of the Kia Sedona, Martin Edwards.

He said he had been enjoying a ‘sunny Sunday’ which his wife and three children before the horrifying accident.

The court heard about an incident minutes before the smash when the drivers of the two cars had met at a roundabout. Mr Smith reportedly beeped at Mr Edwards, who then made a gesture out of his window.

Mr Edwards, of West Croft, Much Hoole, said: “Me and my wife Alison had been to pick up my daughter Catherine and were coming home.

“We also had my daughters Millie and Emma in the car.

“I was just about to come out of the roundabout when I heard a beep. I flicked my ‘Vs’ out of the window and didn’t look to see who it was. I was two minutes away from home so I didn’t think it was such a big deal.

“I wasn’t too interested.

“I just thought, ‘What’s his problem?’”

Mr Edwards says he continued up the A59 and was overtaken by Mr Smith.

Shortly after, Mr Smith slowed and pulled over to the left hand side of the lane, before pulling right to turn down Liverpool Old Road.

It was then that the two vehicles collided and veered off the road, smashing into a wooden fence and ending up in a grass verge.

Reaching a verdict of accidental death, coroner Simon Jones said: “It is clear that Mr Smith was following the silver Kia.

“What happened at the roundabout we do not know, but it is clear something occurred. I accept that Mr Smith sounded his horn and Mr Edwards gestured out of his window.

“Whether what happened on that roundabout had any bearing on what happened remains uncertain because we don’t know where Mr Smith was in fact going.

“It is clear Mr Smith had overtaken Mr Edwards and was in front, with Mr Edwards three seconds behind.

“There is no evidence that the red Honda was showing either indicators or brake lights at the time of the collision, however that does remain inconclusive.

“The critical question is where in the near side lane the Honda was when it started its manoeuvre to the right.

“There were no independent witnesses but what is clear is that it was into a position where it was sideways and Mr Edwards had no opportunity to miss it.”

The inquest was told that the police are not taking any action against Mr Edwards.