Alcohol farm

Driver twice over alcohol limit killed by oncoming van after crashing into car on dual carriageway

A 20-year-old man wearing only his underwear crashed his car on a dual carriageway before walking along the road and being run over and killed by an oncoming van, an inquest heard.

James Beere was killed on the A40 west of Carmarthen on the evening of Saturday September 26, 2020. An inquest into his death, held at Llanelli Town Hall on Friday March 25, heard how he left his home in his black Seat Ibiza despite being more than twice the drink-driving limit.

According to Carmarthenshire coroner’s officer Maclolm Thompson, Mr Beere had climbed out of a bedroom window on the farmhouse he lived and worked in in the Pendine area and walked towards his car. It then reversed into a wall at the farmhouse before smashing its way onto the A40, heading east towards Carmarthen. You can keep up to date with the latest Carmarthenshire news by signing up to the local newsletter here.

Read more: Major safety issues found on one of Wales’ most dangerous roads

Around 9:40 p.m. on the evening in question, between St Clears and Bancyfelin, he hit the central reservation with his car. Mr Beere then walked on the westbound stretch of carriageway where he was struck by a white Volkswagen Transporter van, an impact which carried him more than 15 meters along the road and resulted in a fracture of the cervical spine. He was killed instantly.

The inquest heard that Mr Beere, who grew up in the town of Narberth and dated Ysgol Dyffryn Taf in the nearby town of Whitland, died from a spinal injury described as “internal decapitation”. A toxicology report revealed Mr Beere had an alcohol reading of 179 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood at the time of his death – the legal limit is 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood.

Speaking at the inquest, PC Matthew Frazer, forensic collision investigator at Dyfed-Powys Police, said ‘going over twice the limit would seriously affect his ability to drive’ and that although the collision occurred in the dark, the conditions were dry and overcast. PC Frazer added that the tests carried out did not reveal any defects on Mr Beere’s car which crashed in the central reserve, nor on the van which hit him while he was walking on the road. The driver of the van suffered no injuries and underwent a breathalyzer following the incident, a test which gave a negative reading.

As painful as these procedures are for those who have lost loved ones, the lessons that can be learned from investigations can go a long way in saving the lives of others.

The press has the legal right to attend investigations and has a responsibility to report on them as part of its duty to uphold the principle of open justice.

It is a journalist’s duty to make sure the public understands why someone died and to ensure that their death is not kept secret. An inquest report can also dispel any rumors or suspicions surrounding a person’s death.

But, more importantly, an inquest report can draw attention to circumstances that may prevent further deaths from occurring.

If journalists are reluctant to attend investigations, a whole section of the judicial system is not held to account.

Surveys can often prompt a broader discussion of serious issues, the most recent being mental health and suicide.

Editors actively request and encourage journalists to speak to family and friends of a person under investigation. Their contributions help us create a clearer picture of the deceased and also provide an opportunity to honor their loved one.

Often families do not wish to speak to the press and of course this decision must be respected. However, as many powerful media campaigns have shown, the contribution of one person’s family and friends can make all the difference in helping save others.

Without the presence of the press at inquests, questions will go unanswered and lives will be lost.

“For reasons that are completely unclear, it would appear that Mr Beere left the farm wearing his underwear and then drove his vehicle down the A40,” said Paul Bennett, acting chief coroner for the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

“The evidence I have heard supports the fact that his driving must have been impaired by the level of alcohol in his system and that this must, at some point, have resulted in a loss of control. The reasons why he left the vehicle are unclear.” This unfortunately brought Mr Beere into contact with the Transporter van. It must have been a terrifying experience for the driver to come into contact with Mr Beere.”

Offering condolences to Mr Beere’s family, some of whom were present at the inquest, Mr Bennett said the death was an accident and entered a verdict of death in a road traffic accident.