A nine-week-old child will never see its father after he lost control of the car he was driving and died in a horrific car smash.
An inquest in Lincoln on Wednesday heard how Gavin Paul Doughty, a 31-year-old groundsman from Metheringham, was declared dead following the crash at around 7.15pm on March 16 this year on the B1202 Heath Road, near Boothby Graffoe.
His mother, Christine Doughty told The Standard after the hearing: He was a good guy, a very good father. He has a nine-week-old baby he will now not even see and a little boy of seven which he brought up on his own.
“He had a great heart.”
Area Coroner Paul Smith concluded that Mr Doughty died as a result of his multiple injuries caused by the collision and expressed his sympathies to his assembled family present for the hearing.
Having heard various statements and listened to the report of the forensic collision investigator, PC Michelle Ford, he said: “The only conclusion is this collision occurred as a result of Mr Doughty losing control of his vehicle and veering into the opposing carriageway and into the path of Lee Fraser.”
In his written statement, Mr Fraser, a logistic technician, had been driving home in his silver Astra eastwards along the B1202 from RAF Waddington where he worked towards the A15. It was dark, but dry, and he passed two sets of headlights coming in the opposite direction. A third set of lights got within 50 yards of him when he said the other car seemed to lose control before veering into his path. Mr Fraser had about two seconds to react, according to police accident investigators, braking and trying to steer to the left before ploughing into the passenger side of the black Astra driven by Mr Doughty, which wrapped itself around the front of his car, completely detaching the rear axle of Mr Doughty’s vehicle which also began to catch fire.
The collision happened less than a mile from the junction with the A15.
Post mortem tests revealed Mr Doughty had 184 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood in a sample taken, around two and a half times the legal limit of 80 milligrams. Tests also showed traces of cocaine in his system, although it could not be established when he had taken that.
PC Ford from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit could not find any defects with the road surface that may have contributed to the crash and could not find any tyre markings due to it coming on to rain immediately after the incident and the churning up of the verges by other vehicles. She concluded Mr Doughty’s steering had been deliberate and not merely drifting due to falling asleep or illness.
The inquest heard both vehicles were judged to have been travelling at between 50 and 60mph up to the time of impact.
Mr Doughty’s partner Hayley Burrows said he drove every day for work and regularly used his father’s black Astra, which he was permitted to drive. He had driven her to a midwife appointment in Sleaford and back and seemed fine, then went to a neighbour’s funeral in Lincoln before phoning to stay he was heading to the wake in Nocton.
Long-time friend Lee Johnston stated that Mr Doughty had visited his home at about 5pm that day after the wake and appeared agitated, admitting he had drunk a couple of vodkas.
Collision investigations showed that according to the evidence it was likely that Mr Doughty had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of impact.
Mr Smith said that according to Mr Doughty’s GP, he had suffered from periods of depression in the past but had not been prescribed anti-depressants since July 2017. Therapeutic levels of the drug - possibly from self-medicating using drugs he still had - were found in his system too but he did not see them as being contributory to the loss of control.
Firefighters called to assist a LIVES doctor in extracting Mr Doughty from the wreckage had lifted him out of the car, Firefighter John Garrick detecting a strange smell of ammonia from the man’s chest and a critical incident was declared, cordoning off the car when they found a small washing up liquid bottle containing a liquid, wrapped inside a black rubber glove and tucked inside his breast pocket of his coat. Tests later found this to be a quantity of bleach, but three firefighters were treated at hospital for the effects of fumes, according to PC Ford.
PC Ford also suggested that the bottle could have leaked prior to the collision, distracting Mr Doughty, as there were some chemical burns to his body.
Mr Smith said: “The purpose of his journey is unknown, as is why he had a bottle of bleach about his person and not elsewhere within the vehicle in the interests of safety.”