Man may have had 'medical episode' before A143 lorry crash

A143 between Earsham and Ditchingham road closure. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

A143 between Earsham and Ditchingham road closure. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

A 73-year-old who died after being hit by a lorry could have had a medical episode, an inquest has heard.

John Charles Brighton, known as Curly, was struck by a lorry on the A143 at Earsham in the early hours of November 29 last year.

An inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court on Friday, May 21, heard analysis of the driver's dashcam showed Mr Brighton lying in the middle of the road, coming into view just 1.3 seconds before the collision.

A143 between Earsham and Ditchingham road closure. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

A143 between Earsham and Ditchingham road closure. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

Emergency services were called to the scene, near Earsham, shortly after 1am, with the road closed until shortly after 11.30am.

Mr Brighton, of Earsham Street, Bungay, had no identification on him and was dressed in a fleece top, trousers and slippers at the time of the crash.

Concerns had been raised about Mr Brighton's memory problems prior to the crash, with tests planned to assess his condition amid a suspected dementia diagnosis.

Norfolk Police appealed to identify Mr Brighton, with a neighbour then reporting his disappearance after visiting his house following the appeal.

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In a statement read to the inquest, Chelsea Warnes, a worker at the Three Tuns, in Bungay, where Mr Brighton was a regular, said: "He was a regular joker and very well thought of and we became friends.

"He was always working and doing odd jobs for friends."

Another driver reported swerving to pass Mr Brighton minutes before the collision took place, with the inquest hearing it was "unlikely" he had been hit by another vehicle before the lorry.

No criminal offences were found in relation to the lorry driver.

Assistant coroner Christopher Long concluded Mr Brighton died as a result of a road traffic collision, saying: "What happened seemed to be completely out of character and there is no evidence of him leaving home at night before.

"It is not possible to ascertain why he was lying in the middle of the road, and lightly dressed, at the time, but it was likely due to either hypothermia or alcohol-induced confusion, or some other medical episode.

"The evidence shows he drank some alcohol that evening, but the levels were not found to be particularly high."

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