Coach boss suffered heart attack before A5 collision

L13-649 RTA on A5 Hockcliffe, car and lorry.'Amanda Devlin'JR 23'4.6.13
L13-649 RTA on A5 Hockcliffe, car and lorry.'Amanda Devlin'JR 23'4.6.13

A company boss involved in a collision on the A5 last year died from a heart attack, an inquest heard yesterday.

Crash investigators found Jeremy St Clair Holt had not attempted to use his brakes or correct his car as it strayed into the path of a tipper lorry at Hockliffe on June 4.

The coachworks repairs boss had had a heart attack in 2000 and had a history of heart disease for which he was receiving medication. But a post mortem found his coronary arteries were only working at 10% at the time of the accident.

He was also recovering from an operation on his knee.

Mr Holt, aged 66, of The Heath, Leighton Buzzard, was driving along the A5 between Hockliffe and Heath and Reach in a customer’s Volkswagen Golf on the afternoon of June 4 when the car seemed to overtake another car and swereved into the opposite carriageway, as the tipper truck was coming in the other direction.

PC Martin Longley told the inquest at Ampthill, the driver of the lorry had only a second to react as he tried to drive his vehicle out of the way by swerving it towards the grass verge.

The two vehicles clipped each other and Mr Holt’s car was pushed back into the original carriageway and came to rest on a grass verge.

A Peugeot 207 which was following the tipper was damaged by debris in the collision.

Emergency services and the air ambulance were called, but Mr Holt was declared dead at the scene.

PC Longley told the inquest it appeared Mr Holt had become incapacitated before the incident, and had not been able to use his brakes or take evasive action.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Bedforshire Coroner Tom Osborne said: “It seemed he suffered a heart attack at the wheel which meant he was not in control of the car.

“The collision did not cause his death.”

Paying tribute to her husband, Valerie Holt said the father of two was “just a real hard-working generous sort of chap”.