'˜Micro-sleep' blamed for Derbyshire man's death in A6 crash

A driver from Ilkeston who died when he swerved into the path of a lorry could have had a 'micro-sleep' at the wheel, an inquest heard.

Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 2:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 4:21 pm
The scene of the collision on the A6 near Ambergate on March 18 last year.
The scene of the collision on the A6 near Ambergate on March 18 last year.

Keith Wint, of Champion Avenue, Ilkeston, was on the A6 when his car collided with the lorry.

Mr Wint, 39, died of multiple injuries in the crash on March 18 last year. The hearing was told he had been fighting to overcome depression.

But senior coroner Robert Hunter ruled out suicide, saying Mr Wint either lost consciousness because of a micro-sleep – a brief, unintended loss of concentration – or a heart problem.

After the inquest, his family spoke about their loss. His dad, Dennis Wint, said: “It’s absolutely tragic.

“He was trying to make his way in the world the best he could. He was fighting and fighting. He was getting a lot of support and help from the NHS, friends and his family.

“Keith was a very good driver and he was very careful. He was coming back to us as a son, and that is something we were really hoping for.”

His family and friends will scatter the ashes of the keen cyclist later this month at Mont Ventoux, in southern France – a climb in the Tour de France cycle race.

Friends Edward Potter, James Drew, Andrew Gill and Cain Hosker will take part in a sponsored ride while they are there for a charity raising money to fight bipolar disorder.

Mr Wint had been due to take part in the cycling challenge with them but they are now “doing it all for him”. His parents will be there for the event.

Mr Hunter ruled that Mr Wint died of multiple injuries as a result of the accident.

He said there were no defects with his car and there was no alcohol in his blood.

Neither were there any drugs, apart from medication he was taking because of his condition.

He was also driving within the speed limit.

He said: “There is no evidence to suggest suicide. It is possible that Keith was subjected to a micro-sleep.

“He took no evasive action. I am satisfied he had lost consciousness.”

Dr Hunter read out evidence from Stuart Bradley, who was driving the HGV from Cromford to Derby when the crash happened in Ambergate.

Dr Hunter said Mr Bradley said “it was obvious he would hit me if he did not move”.

Mr Bradley’s evidence stated that he did not know if Mr Wint, who was driving towards Matlock, had taken ill.

PC Paul Moorcroft, a member of the Derbyshire police collision investigation team, said micro-sleep was a possible cause of the crash.

He said he had come across such cases before and they usually lasted between one and five seconds.