A coroner has determined that a Merseyside man killed by cladding that “came from the sky” during a storm was simply in the wrong location at the wrong time.
During Storm Eunice on February 18, a 15-foot (4.5-meter) metal piece shattered the window of a friend’s vehicle, striking Stephen Matthews, 68, in the neck.
According to the inquiry, the retired Royal Mail employee was returning to Aintree after assisting with gardening.
In Netherton, Sefton, the accident took place at the Switch Island intersection.
The object “came from the sky,” according to Merseyside Police Sgt. Steve Smith, before colliding with the vehicle carrying Mr. Matthews and his buddy.
Simon Holder, the father-of-assistant two’s coroner for Sefton, Knowsley, and St. Helens, said to the widow Sylvia and other family members: “As a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, [he] had a neck injury in this horrific, terrible, sad event.
“Would this have occurred if the storm hadn’t occurred? I sincerely doubt it.
We just have no idea what the future holds for any of us.
Strong winds from Storm Eunice in February created hazardous conditions all throughout the nation.
According to Mr. Holder, the piece of cladding that fell off the refrigeration unit of a vehicle moving the other way might have fallen anywhere.
He said that until he checked the HGV days later, the HGV driver was not aware of the metal falling off the truck.
Because there was no indication of reckless or hazardous driving, or that the vehicle was in unsafe condition, Merseyside Police opted against pursuing any proceedings.
Other drivers who were driving that day gave testimonies before the inquiry, describing high gusts that gusted up to 80 mph (130 km/h).
Witness Before falling toward the vehicle, the metal, according to Stephen Gilby, “floated” in the air in a “feather-type motion” as high as the tops of street lights.
Billy Cooper, a friend of Mr. Matthews’s who was driving, allegedly heard a “huge blast” and witnessed an explosion of glass during the hearing.
Mr. Cooper said in a statement read out at the hearing that he stopped the van after believing they had been struck by a brick.
He claimed that despite shaking Mr. Matthews and yelling, he received no reaction.
Deborah Symons reported seeing Mr. Cooper trying to halt traffic when she and her family were traveling by, and when her husband asked if they could help, he said, “I can’t wake my partner.”
She reported dialing 999 and helping Mr. Matthews, including using garments to attempt to stop the bleeding, in her account.
Mr. Matthews was transported by ambulance to Aintree Hospital, where he passed away shortly after arriving.
Neck trauma, according to Mr. Holder, was the cause of death, and he concluded that it was an accident.