Dad had heart attack at wheel

Peter Dodd, who died in a car crash on Yeadon Way, Blackpool
Peter Dodd, who died in a car crash on Yeadon Way, Blackpool
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A father-of-one who died after being involved in a head on collision had suffered a heart attack at the wheel, an inquest heard.

Peter Dodd, 50, formerly of Fleetwood, was killed by a combination of heart problems and the serious injuries he sustained in the crash on Yeadon Way, Blackpool, last summer.

Mr Dodd, who lived in the port as a teenager before moving to Blackpool when he got married, was driving away from the resort when he drifted into oncoming traffic on September 25.

The former operations manager at Northern Security, who lived on Ribble Road, Blackpool, was described by colleagues at the time of his death as “one of life’s good guys”.

Speaking after the inquest at Blackpool Town Hall, Dawn Palmer, mother of Mr Dodd’s 16-year-old son, James, today paid tribute to a “hard working and sociable man”.

She said: “Peter loved being involved and would do anything for anyone.

“He was a good father to my son, James, and was involved in his daily upbringing.

“He has left an empty space in my son’s life but, like his dad, James is a strong, mature and likeable young man.”

The inquest heard there was no alcohol or drugs in his system and the were no faults with the car that meant he would have been unable to avoid the crash.

However, a post mortem found evidence of a non-fatal heart attack that would have occurred around the time of the collision.

Doctors found Mr Dodd – who also had a weakened heart – broke most of his ribs, fractured his spine and had fluid on his lungs.

The inquest heard the injuries, which could have left him paralysed, were not necessarily fatal.

Mr Dodd, was taken to Royal Preston Hospital, where he died the next day.

The inquest heard police statements and witness accounts describing the moment Mr Dodd’s Renault Clio drifted into the wrong lane as he drove towards the motorway.

A blue Peugeot 207 managed to swerve out of the way, losing its wing mirror as the out of control vehicle clipped it on the way past.

The driver of the vehicle behind, an Alfa Romeo whose passenger was on her way to the beach to celebrate her birthday, had no time to react and avoid a head on collision, Blackpool’s Assistant Coroner Derek Baker heard.

Police experts later said the combined speed of the vehicles at the time of the collision was between 40mph and 50mph. The was no evidence of sudden braking from either car.

The Alfa Romeo ended up pushed up against the concrete barrier at the side of the road, pinning the female passenger inside.

A statement from her husband, Michael Beaton, who was driving the car, was read out during the inquest.

He said: “I didn’t have time to brake – I just braced myself for the impact.

“I felt a great pain in my chest. I thought I had broken a rib.”

Mr Dodd was described by police officers at the scene as distressed and upset but somewhat conscious. He had no recollection of the crash.

Assistant coroner Derek Baker said: “I do not feel he would have died if he had not been injured the previous day in the road traffic accident.

“This was a head-on collision. He did sustain multiple injuries in that accident.

“There is no evidence of excessive speed or recklessness that would have caused this collision. In my view the heart diseases and symptoms stemming from that caused the loss of control.

“If he had not suffered the serious injuries in the car crash, he may well have survived.”

Ms Palmer she said she hoped more could be done to prevent further accidents on Yeadon Way.

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