Dad-of-one Mick Ibberson died after car hit him in pitch-black country lane, inquest told

Inquest told it was "only by the Grace of God" other drivers didn't hit him in pitch black

Michael Ibberson, 36, of Mirfield, who died after being hit by a car in Flockton in October 2013.

A man seen staggering down a pitch-black country lane died after a car ploughed into him from behind, an inquest heard.

Mick Ibberson, 36, had drunk at least six pints and was wandering aimlessly down the road after a row with his family.

Divorced dad-of-one Mr Ibberson was struck by a Vauxhall Corsa on the A637 Barnsley Road at Flockton, near the Grange Moor roundabout, at 8.25pm on October 12 last year.

Mr Ibberson, previously of Liversedge and Mirfield, was walking towards Flockton village when he was hit by a car travelling in the same direction.

He suffered massive head injuries and died a short time later at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield.

The Huddersfield inquest was told how two street lamps near the scene were out and another was faulty.

Driver Lauren Dawson never saw him. She told how she was travelling at 45mph to 50mph – the limit is 50mph – when she suddenly struck something and heard a loud thud.

She stopped her car but could not see anything in the darkness and rang police.

The body of Mr Ibberson was found on the grass verge.

Other drivers also reported near misses with a dark figure seen stumbling down the narrow road, which has a pavement on just one side.

Det Sgt Carole Greaves, of West Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Enquiry Team, told the inquest it was “only by the grace of God” that other drivers did not hit Mr Ibberson.

She said: “Lauren did not know she had hit him even afterwards. It was only later she realised it was a person she had been in collision with.”

Kirklees assistant coroner Mrs Mary Burke, recording an accident verdict, said the defective street lighting and Mr Ibberson’s dark clothing meant it was “incredibly difficult” for any driver to see him.

Other accidents had only been avoided because Mr Ibberson had been illuminated by cars coming in the opposite direction.

Mr Ibberson’s brother Lee, in a statement, told how Mick had visited his sick sister and had a habit of drinking while he was there.

His sister phoned Lee repeatedly and he collected another sister and her son and drove to Bradford to pick him up from her home.

Mick had previously lived with another brother, Derek, in Mirfield but they had fallen out and he had been staying with a friend.

When Mick realised they were heading for Mirfield he became “agitated” and demanded to be let out of the car.

The family had to restrain him from trying to get out and tried to calm him. Eventually Lee pulled over on a layby in Barnsley Road, believing his brother would get out and have a cigarette and calm down.

Instead he climbed over a fence and disappeared across a field.

Mrs Burke said: “They (the family) felt Mick needed to sober up and felt a walk would do him good. They decided to leave him and Lee took his sister and her son home.”

Lee later rang his brother and his second call was answered by a police officer who said there had been an “incident.”

Relatives were with Mr Ibberson when he died at 1.20am the following morning. Tests showed he had drunk the equivalent of six pints of beer.

Drivers William Westerman, Vicky Routledge-Hine and Conrad Proberts all had near misses with Mr Ibberson.

Barnsley Road, Flockton, close to where Michael Ibberson was struck by a car in October 2013.
 

Mr Proberts said he only saw a figure in the road because of the headlights from a car coming in the opposite direction.

He had to slam his brakes on and pull round Mr Ibberson who seemed “oblivious” to what was happening. He was “staggering” and “wobbling all over the road.”

Giving evidence Mr Westerman said: “I don’t think the street lights were working that night. You couldn’t see much.”

Accident investigators said Miss Dawson’s car was in good repair and there was no evidence she had been speeding.

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