Police 'confusion' before driver four-times the drink limit was in fatal A38 crash
A MOTORIST killed when he was thrown from a van in a horrific crash was nearly four times the drink-drive limit, an inquest heard.
David Perrin, 29, died when his white Astra van hit the central reservation on the A38 near Manadon roundabout.
The crash happened on January 22 at 5.30pm.
A post mortem revealed that Mr Perrin had 313mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system at the time of the collision. The drink drive limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
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Mr Perrin is also believed to have not been wearing a seatbelt, which the Deputy Coroner for Plymouth, Andrew Cox, said probably contributed to his death.
Mr Cox, recorded a verdict of accidental death at the inquest yesterday.
In February an investigation was launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission after it emerged a member of the public had called Devon and Cornwall Constabulary shortly before the crash to report two males staggering from a Kentucky Fried Chicken shop and get into the van. But yesterday the Deputy Coroner said the report was of no relevance to the cause of the accident.
Giving evidence, Michael Pelly, who was in the car when the accident happened, said that he couldn't really remember the collision.
He said: "At that point I was really drunk. I remember being in the van but I had drunk a lot of vodka and stuff and David had drunk the same as me."
When asked to describe Mr Perrin's condition, Mr Pelly said: "David was drunk."
Witness Neil Parrock was driving behind the white Astra van in a black BMW at the time of the accident and said in a statement that he saw the van driving erratically.
Laura Howe was driving a Nissan Micra on the day of the accident, shortly behind Mr Parrock's BMW.
She said: "I saw the van swerving and saw the BMW back off so I backed off as well. I just saw the van rolling and he was at the other side of the crash barrier."
A report into the state of the vehicle showed that there were no mechanical defects that could have caused or contributed to the collision.
Police investigator PC Stuart Parratt assessed the scene and said there was only one vehicle involved.
In his conclusions, PC Parratt said the level of alcohol in the driver's system may offer an explanation as to why the crash happened. Also, there were no marks on the seatbelt to show it was being worn by the driver.
PC Parratt said: "Had the driver been wearing a seatbelt it's likely that he would have been restrained in the vehicle and the injuries would have been less severe."
Deputy Coroner Mr Cox said: "Mr Pelly has stated that he was drinking with David. When the situation becomes problematic is when David gets behind the wheel of a car."
The Deputy Coroner attributed Mr Perrin's death to two factors, the major factor being the amount of alcohol that Mr Perrin had consumed. He also said that due to not wearing a seatbelt, Mr Perrin was thrown from the vehicle where he suffered the worst injuries.
He said: "It is tragic when someone dies so young but this could have been much worse if another vehicle had been involved. David got behind the wheel deliberately intending to drive."
During the inquest Mr Perrin's uncle, Andrew Lee Perrin became angry and started shouting and swearing. PC Stephen Walker said: "Andrew Perrin was arrested on the Deputy Coroner's direction following behaviour in court that was threatening and abusive. He was warned by the Deputy Coroner that he could face imprisonment but due to the remorse shown, the deputy coroner gave him strong words of advice instead."
STATEMENT OVER POLICE ACTION BEFORE CRASH
A STATEMENT by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to Mr Perrin's death said: "The Independent Police Complaints Commission independent investigation into police actions prior to David Perrin's death on January 22, 2012 after a road traffic incident concluded that there were no misconduct issues in officers not preventing him driving off. A member of the public called Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to report seeing two males staggering from a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the area of Moorview Terrace, Plymouth at about 4.10pm on January 22 and get into a white Astra van.
At about 5.35pm the same vehicle was reported as crashing on the A38 Parkway near Manadon, Plymouth. 29-year-old David Perrin sustained fatal injuries while the second man, who was the passenger in the van, sustained non-life threatening injuries.
The IPCC investigation found that a Police Community Support Officer responded to the request to attend the report of the drunk males in a vehicle but did not take action because she believed that police officers on the scene were already dealing with the report.
However, the police officers at the scene were already deployed on a firearms operation and they understood the PCSO would deal with the report of the two men in a White Astra van.
IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik said: "My condolences go to Mr Perrin's family and friends for their loss. The public rightly expects the police to attend and deal with a report of a potential drink-driving offence and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary did action the call properly. However, a firearms operation in the immediate area the van was in led to some confusion. The firearms officers could not get involved with the incident involving Mr Perrin because of the operation they were dealing with. Our investigation found that the PCSO and PC misunderstood what each other would do with the report of two drunk men believed to be about to drive away. This was unfortunate but we found that on the balance of probabilities the two officers made an honest mistake in who they believed would take responsibility for the report involving Mr Perrin."