A DRIVER who died instantly when his 4x4 smashed into a bus in Huddersfield was nearly twice over the legal drink-drive limit. an inquest heard.
David Wainwright, 35, died from multiple injuries when his Vauxhall Frontera collided with a 221 bus in Woodhead, Lockwood, at 8.25pm on Friday, February 27 last year.
Tests later showed he had drunk the equivalent of seven pints of beer.
The fork-lift truck driver from St George's Road in Scholes, Holmfirth, had earlier picked up his wife, Williamina, 44, from Huddersfield.
The pair had stopped at friends' houses before calling at a couple of pubs on their way home.
In a statement given to police and read out at the Huddersfield inquest yesterday Mrs Wainwright, who was badly hurt in the crash, said she believed her husband had only had two pints of shandy.
She said all she could remember about the accident was being in the car with her husband. She added: "The next thing I recall is the sound of a radio from the police or fire service."
Witnesses said they saw the Frontera cross the road after failing to get round a bend. It collided with an eight-tonne Yorkshire Traction bus.
Engineer Richard Wright was following the bus along the 30mph road and said he saw the car heading straight for it.
He added: "It was travelling in a straight line. We realised it would hit the bus before it did."
The bus driver, Hedley Davies, was unhurt. He said he first saw the Frontera coming towards him only moments before the impact.
Mr Davies, a bus driver for six years, added: "Instantly I knew he was going too fast. I eased the bus towards the left and told myself to keep my eyes open. I knew he was going to hit me."
Despite the smash, which nearly destroyed the offside of the 4x4, no-one on the bus was hurt.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Roger Whittaker said: "This is a tragic incident which need never have happened."