North West Wales

Fatal Gwynedd crash drivers 'misjudged the situation'

Charles Harris and Janet Whitehead Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Charles Harris and Janet Whitehead: "Two wonderful people"

Two drivers in a fatal road crash in Gwynedd failed to anticipate each other's actions, a coroner has said.

Charles Harris and Janet Whitehead died when their car was struck by another vehicle on the A499 at Llandwrog in April 2016.

The inquest in Caernarfon heard the other driver, Dylan Wyn Thomas, 37, from Nefyn, had already been prosecuted for drug driving.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones said both drivers had misjudged the situation.

Mr Harris, 85, from Wrexham and Mrs Whitehead, 64, from Peterborough, died instantly of multiple injuries when their Nissan Micra was struck by Mr Thomas' Vauxhall Vectra as they pulled out of a side road on to the A499.

The collision happened in heavy rain and conditions described as "treacherous".

Mr Thomas, who did not turn up for the hearing, was injured in the crash and taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd for treatment.

A blood test taken three hours later revealed he had driven with benzoylecgonine - a by-product of cocaine - in his system.

'Wonderful people'

He admitted drug driving when he appeared before magistrates in Caernarfon and was banned from driving for four years.

Concluding Mr Harris and Mrs Whitehead died as the result of a road traffic collision, Mr Pritchard Jones said he believed both drivers had misjudged the situation in anticipating each other's actions.

He thought Mr Harris had not anticipated that the Vectra was as near as it was or its speed, and Mr Thomas had not thought the other driver was going to pull out of the minor road.

In a statement, the couple's families described them as "two wonderful people who had made a great contribution".

Mr Pritchard Jones said Mr Thomas will be served with a notice to explain why he had not attended the hearing.

If he did not have a good reason a penalty would be considered, he said.

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