Inquiry is held into A75 fatal
A care worker who died in a two-vehicle smash may have suffered a heart attack before the impact, a fatal accident inquiry has heard.
James Penny was returning with a handicapped adult service- user from a visit to an equestrian centre near Lockerbie when he crossed on to the opposite carriageway of the A75 near Castle Douglas and collided with a van in February last year.
He was conscious when rescuers reached him and was able to ask for help as he lay trapped by the steering column and dashboard in his car.
But Mr Penny, 55, of Port Street, Dalbeattie – who was described as a “well valued employee” – died at the scene an hour later despite a fight by paramedics to save him.
His 25-year-old passenger, who had been in the front passenger seat, and the van driver were both taken to Dumfries Infirmary for treatment to injuries.
The inquiry – held at Dumfries – was told the sole cause of the accident was the Corsa that was being driven by Mr Penny entering the other lane and colliding with the van, leaving neither driver with time to avoid the collision.
In a statement read to the inquiry it was said Mr Penny had been a social worker with Dumfries and Galloway Council and fulfilled all the requirements needed for the job.
He had been working from Dunmuir Park at Castle Douglas and was returning there with the serviceuser when the accident happened.
A statement given by van driver Steven Jackson was also read to the inquiry.
It said: “I was driving along the road to Dumfries … next thing I knew was the noise of a collision.
“I haven’t a clue about how the collision happened – I remember sliding down the banking and coming to a stop, then it was just the pain.”
A post-mortem examination discovered Mr Penny had been suffering from a heart condition.
It concluded: “It may be that he had a primary cardiac event due to heart disease which led to the collision.”
The cause of death was given as heart disease and abdominal injuries.
Sheriff Brian Mohan returned a formal verdict.