‘We don’t blame you’

Scene of the fatal accident
Scene of the fatal accident
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A grieving aunt has told the driver involved in a road accident which cost a Fylde teenager his life: ‘We don’t blame you’.

Six months on from the incident in St Annes town centre, Lorraine Albiston says the family is still coming to terms with the devastating loss of Michael Thompson.

The 18-year-old suffered severe head injuries when he was hit by a car while trying to cross Clifton Drive North at its junction with St Annes Square in May. 
He died in Royal Preston Hospital the following day.

At an inquest last month, coroner Alan Wilson recorded a verdict of accidental death as a result of a ‘tragic misjudgement on Michael’s part’ and police confirmed there were no grounds for a criminal prosecution.

But Lorraine said that along with her grief for 18-year-old Michael, she remains concerned over the effect the incident has had on the driver, named at the inquest as Antonio Angelone.

“I just want him to know that we don’t blame him at all,” she said.

“It is bad enough that we are still suffering and devastated at the loss of Michael – I don’t want that driver to be suffering too.

“I would imagine that every time he drives up to a set of traffic lights, the incident will be in his mind – and I just want him to be at peace.

“But Michael was born with a mild form of cerebral palsy which meant his sense of danger was reduced.

“He would have thought he had time to cross. The driver did nothing wrong and I want him to be at peace.”

Michael, who was heading to his St Annes home with a friend at the time of the incident, was a former student of Carr Hill High School, Kirkham.

Lorraine, who was also godmother to Michael and lives in Kendal. said: “He was a lovely lad. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call from his elder sister that Michael had been taken to hospital, We really miss him and always will.”

The inquest into Michael’s death was told that an investigation found he had rushed out into the road while the traffic lights at the crossing were green, signalling to drivers that it was safe to cross.

He then collided with the front right-hand side of a car driven by St Annes resident Mr Angelone, who was heading home from Blackpool.

Reading from a statement, the coroner said: “As soon as (Mr Angelone) saw the male he slammed the brakes as hard as he could in an effort to avoid a collision. He got out of the car straight away to check on the male.”

PC Robert Newcombe, who stood as a witness at the inquest, said that the positions of Michael and the vehicle at the scene after the crash were consistent with an impact between the speed of 20 and 25mph. The speed limit on the road is 30mph.

Tests carried out on Mr Angelone showed that he was not suffering the effects of alcohol or drugs at the time, nor was he extremely tired and PC Newcome added: “The driver of the vehicle had little or no opportunity to avoid colliding with the pedestrian.”

Sgt James Power, senior investigating officer, said: “We have examined all the evidence and have reached the conclusion that no criminal prosecution is to follow.

“The conclusion we have come to is that we don’t believe there is any criminal responsibility.”

Coroner Wilson said: “Ultimately this was a tragic misjudgement on Michael’s part in terms of thinking he had enough time to make it across the road.”