Driver killed in Wearside smash had drugs in system, inquest told

Flowers left by the spot of the crash which claimed Adam Brennan, 40, of Hetton.
Flowers left by the spot of the crash which claimed Adam Brennan, 40, of Hetton.

A driver who was killed when his car left a Wearside road in unexplained circumstances was found to have cocaine and diazepam in his system, an inquest heard.

Adam Brennan may also have been agitated because he was late for work and driving too fast at the time of his death.

The hearing, at Sunderland Coroners’ Court, heard Mr Brennan, 40, was on his way to start his work as a HGV driver on the morning of Friday, September 11, when his Vauxhall Astra careered off the A690 at Houghton Cut, hitting trees and landing in a field.

Mr Brennan, a dad, died instantly after suffering severe head and chest injuries in the smash.

It was also suggested by road traffic police that he may have been driving at excessive speed, something which witnesses to the crash have reported.

The current speed limit on the A690 is 50mph. 
The hearing heard there were no adverse weather conditions at the time of the crash and no skid marks were found on the road.

At an inquest, the city’s assistant coroner Karin Welsh told the hearing that Mr Brennan had been seen by his daughter Atlanta just two days before the accident, where he was described as being “in good spirit” after securing a new job.

Ms Welsh told the hearing: “He was on his way to work in North Tyneside.

“He had left the carriageway to the near side and collided with some trees before resting in a field.”

Ms Welsh added that, despite the best efforts of paramedics called to the scene, Mr Brennan could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination by Dr Mona Jaine found that Mr Brennan, who lived alone at a house in Shaftsbury Park, Hetton, had suffered serious injuries in the crash including fractures to his skull and ribs, all of which contributed to his death.

A toxicology reported also showed quantities of cocaine and diazepam in his system, something which Northumbria Police motor patrols department officer Pc Anthony Powell told the hearing could have contributed to Mr Brennan crashing.

He said: “It could have affected his driving. Other than that, he had been employed as a heavy goods vehicle driver where the starting time was at 7am and the crash happened at 6.55am, meaning he still had some considerable distance to travel to get to work.

“He could have been agitated about being late.”

Concluding the hearing, Ms Welsh said: “Mr Brennan died as a result of a road traffic accident and as such I am recording the death as accidental.”

Mr Brennan’s family declined to comment after the hearing.