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 of a pulmonary embolism almost three weeks after the crash on Tuesday 8 June last year. The blockage in a blood vessel in his lungs developed while he was recovering from his injuries.

Today, his inquest heard that 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 Sergeant Ian Foxton said that 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 that 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 Wednesday 23 June. But on Sunday 27 June, he began to feel unwell again, and in the early hours of Monday 28 June, he woke finding it difficult to breathe.

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

But that was the last time she saw him. He died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital 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 spoke about his love of jazz and drum and bass music, wild flowers, photography and cookery, as well as spending time with his partner, adult daughter and other family.

The court was also told that he was popular with staff and students at Brighton 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 examination which found that he died of a pulmonary emobolism caused by deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his right leg.

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

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

He said that it was possible that the scooter had 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, said that pulmonary embolisms were often very hard 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.

  4. peter croft Reply

    There have now been 10 e-scooter rider deaths reported in England and Wales in 2021 (none in NI or Scotland). More than half involved no other vehicles, they lost control and hit fixed objects eg a tree, parked cars, and metal railings.
    That brings the total to at least 13 since the first in 2019.
    2019=1
    2020=2
    2021=10
    2022=1 (so far)
    All were riding private e-scooters in public illegally. The average age was 41.The very first e-scooter rider death of 2022 occurred on New Years Day. People think they can control them…..
    FULL DETAILS OF ALL 13 DEATHS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

    • Nathan Adler Reply

      Not sure of your point Peter? There are at least 300,000 e scooters in the UK – legislation is the way to make them safer because they are clearly popular. There are 26,000 car accidents a year with 100’s of fatalities. All modes of transport carry a risk walking, cycling, driving nothing can be completely safe.

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