E-scooter rider had drunk four pints before crash, inquest hears

Posted On 12 Jan 2022 at 4:49 pm

Stock image of an electric scooter by Dirk Vorderstraße on Flickr

An electric scooter rider had drunk four or five pints before crashing his scooter in an accident that ultimately claimed his life.

Bernard Jackson, 54, who was described as a kind, generous and empathetic man, died almost three weeks after the crash in June last year of a pulmonary embolism developed while recovering from his injuries.

Today, his inquest heard he had been drinking with a university colleague in the sun for a few hours before heading back along the footpath to Falmer Station when the crash happened.

Detective Constable Ian Foster said CCTV showed him slowly looping back on the Pure Electric kick scooter towards his friend when the scooter seemed to lean to the left, causing Mr Jackson to smash into metal railings.

Mr Jackson, of Millers Road, Brighton, was left with broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a small bone in his skull was also fractured.

Officers initially thought the accident may have happened on the public highway, and so a blood sample was taken in hospital which showed he was almost twice the legal drink driving limit.

He was kept in for several days, until March 23. But on March 27, he began to feel unwell again, and in the early hours of March 28, he woke finding it difficult to breathe.

His partner Ronella gave him his inhaler and called an ambulance. Paramedics gave him oxygen and rushed him to hospital. Ronella told him she loved him, and he said he loved her too and would see him later.

But that was the last time she saw him. He died at the Royal Sussex at about 7.30am.

A eulogy written by Ronella was also read out at the hearing. In it, she said: “He was a compassionate human being, loved life and understood the privilege of human existence.

“He also gave the best hugs and had the best smile.”

She also talked about his love of jazz and drum and bass music, wildflowers, photography and cookery, as well as spending time with his partner, adult daughter and other family.

The court was also told he was popular with staff and students at the Brighton of University, where he worked as an assistant accommodation manager, and where a memorial service was held for him.

Coroner’s officer Mark Johnson read out a summary of the post mortem, which found that he died of a pulmonary emobolism caused by deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his right leg.

The pathologist said the secondary cause of death was the e-scooter accident.

DC Foxton, who was a sergeant in Sussex Police’s serious collision team when he investigated the accident, said the scooter Mr Jackson was riding was a Pure Air Pro Electric Kick Scooter, which had a top speed of 15.5mph.

The accident had happened on a public footpath, not the public highway.

Mr Jackson had bought it the previous September, and when it was sent in for repair in April, he had ridden 567 miles on it.

DC Foxton said Sussex Police could not find an independent expert to examine the scooter, so Pure Electric’s engineer Sam Bernard examined it, and said it was not defective and Mr Jackson had not modified it in any way.

He said it was possible the scooter hit a small depression in the ground next to the railing post, but there were no marks on the post by the time police examined the scene some days later.

Professor Mansoor Khan, a trauma surgeon at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, said that pulmonary embolisms were often very difficult to spot, and having reviewed Mr Jackson’s file, he was sure there was nothing more any of the medics or Mr Jackson’s family could have done to prevent Mr Jackson’s death.

He said: “When someone has this degree of injuries, you want to be sure you are not missing anything.

“As far as I’m concerned, everything was addressed before discharge and he was given the appropriate follow up.

“I don’t think anything more could have been done . . the family gave him an inhaler and called an ambulance, which is exactly the right thing to do.”

Acting senior coroner Penelope Schofield recorded a verdict of accidental death, which came about as a result of the e-scooter accident.

In recent weeks, Sussex Police has warned people that riding e-scooters on the public highway is currently illegal in Brighton and Hove.

  1. Hove Guy Reply

    “In recent weeks, Sussex Police has warned people that riding e-scooters on the public highway is currently illegal in Brighton and Hove.”
    It is not only illegal (not that there are ever any police around to arrest them), but also highly dangerous. One has only to see the constant risk-taking by e-scooter riders, in and out of traffic, to know that there are likely to be more injuries and deaths as a result.

  2. Dave Reply

    Drink driving, not the fault of the vehicle as pointed out in the article. Anyway, someone has died and its tragic so maybe this isn’t the place to have a rant about electric scooters…

  3. TC Reply

    sadly this was only a matter of time. The use of e-scooters has sky-rocketed and people use them with no regard to safety or other road or pavement users.

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