England

Call for recovery truck review after mechanic killed

Terry Booth
Image caption Terry Booth died trying to fix a broken down car on the A31

Equipment used by recovery truck drivers should be reviewed after a mechanic was killed trying to restart a car in Hampshire, a coroner has said.

Terry Booth, 58, of Ferndown, Dorset, died when he was hit by a car on the A31 near Ringwood, in June 2008.

At an inquest into Mr Booth's death, coroner Keith Wiseman said Mr Booth was not able to park his truck in a safe position while using jump leads.

The driver of the car that hit him was jailed for two years in 2009.

Susan Lowe, 64, of Leeds, West Yorkshire, had probably fallen asleep at the wheel of her Chrysler car and ploughed into the broken-down Peugeot which Mr Booth was working on, the jury at her trial heard.

She was jailed for two years for causing death by dangerous driving.

At the inquest at Southampton Coroner's Office, Mr Wiseman recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Risk 'enhanced'

The inquest heard the broken down car was on a grass verge next to the road and Mr Booth had parked his Boarhunt recovery truck partly on the verge and partly on the road.

The central issue examined by the hearing was whether Mr Booth's decision to park alongside the broken down car - rather than behind it in the so-called "fend position" - was influenced by the fact he did not have a portable jump start pack and would have had to use jump leads attached to his truck.

Image caption Lowe's Chrysler ploughed into the broken-down Peugeot pushing it forward and into the ditch

Another Boarhunt employee, Del Morton, told the inquest he would have parked in the same position as Mr Booth, given that the Peugeot was on the verge.

Mr Wiseman said that on the balance of probability the risk to Mr Booth was enhanced by the fact he was not parked behind the Peugeot.

He pointed out that the RAC and the AA already use long jump leads so their vehicles can park in the safest position.

He said: "It is not entirely clear to me why this is not the standard way of dealing with roadside breakdowns."

Mr Booth's partner, Fenella Gilleney, said after the hearing: "I feel a lot of questions were answered and I hope that it's highlighted safety issues and concerns for the drivers."

Robin Doney, managing director and chairman of Boarhunt Group Ltd, said: "Every single job is different and you can't always use long leads, you can't always use jump packs, it depends entirely on the circumstances.

"The drivers are trained that when they arrive at the scene, they do a risk assessment and they act in the safest way possible for the customer and themselves."

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