Family’s heartbreak as Manchester dad dies after a collision with a truck

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Daniel Cuerden's vehicle was in collision with an HGV when he pulled out at a junction, an inquest has heard.

A Manchester dad died after his vehicle was in collision with a heavy goods vehicle at a Lancashire road junction, Preston Coroner's Court heard.

Daniel Cuerden, 48 , had turned right at a T-junction from Croston Road onto Liverpool Road, Ormskirk, on 18 August 2021, when the incident happened.

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Daniel, of Morton Street, Middleton, Greater Manchester, who was an HGV driver by trade, was then transferred to Aintree University Hospital where he passed away on 22 August.

The inquest into Daniel's death was held at Preston Coroners Court on Tuesday.The inquest into Daniel's death was held at Preston Coroners Court on Tuesday.
The inquest into Daniel's death was held at Preston Coroners Court on Tuesday.

Area coroner Richard Taylor told the court that the radiologist who performed the CT scan on Daniel had returned the medical cause of death to be head and upper body injuries from impact.

To determine the coroner's conclusion, Wayne Richard Elliot, the driver of the truck which was in collision with Daniel, was called as witness.

Mr Elliot, a heavy goods driver of over 32 years, told the court he was undertaking an 18-mile journey to Burscough to pick up fruit and vegetables from Hesketh Bank, a journey he does most mornings, at roughly the same time everyday.

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He said the road was wet and slippery and admitted he was speeding, roughly 47mph on a 40mph road, although the police's tachometer read 49mph with a 4mph leeway either way.

Mr Elliot said: “As I approached the junction I noticed a car go over the give way line so I moved out over to my white line to pass him and then he pulled out.

“As soon as I saw him pull out I hit the brakes.”

A representative for Daniel's family then said, when visiting the scene to lay flowers, Mr Elliot said he and Daniel both hesitated.

But Mr Elliot replied that he doesn’t remember saying that, he just remembered slamming the brakes on.

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‘To me that is not Danny’

Daniel's wife Pauline said: “My husband had nearly 32 years of driving experience, he could drive anything on the road, no bother to him. Now I can’t see a driver of 32 years experience just pulling out at a junction like that.

“This is my daughter Bethany, when she passed her test four years ago, one of the things he always said to her was be careful at junctions so I just can’t get my head around why he would pull out, he wasn’t in a rush, he wouldn’t do that, I know my husband.

"Something he’s seen has led Danny to believe that it was okay for him to pull out, flashing lights, an indicator left on … to me that is not Danny."

PC Williams, the collision investigator from Lancashire Constabulary, said that following his examination of the scene, "on this occasion there was nothing wrong with either vehicle" or the road surface that could have contributed to the incident and he confirmed braking had occurred.

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He said: “If he was driving at 40mph, impact still would have occurred, but at a lower speed”.

Coroner’s conclusion

The coroner confirmed that Daniel had pulled out that morning but “why he did that remains a complete mystery.”

Turning to Daniel's wife, the coroner said: “I’m not going to be able to give you those answers and I am sorry I can not.

"The one question that we will never know the answer to is the reason why your husband started the vehicle and I simply cannot help you with that.

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"You say that you feel that it is just your husband that will be blamed but we’re not here to blame.”

The coroner concluded a “road traffic collision” caused Daniel's death.

A version of this story originally appeared at our sister title lep.co.uk