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Van driver died after ‘micro-sleep’ horror smash

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 16, 2014

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A VAN driver died after falling asleep at the wheel and drifting into the path of an oncoming 44-tonne lorry.

An inquest was told that Nigel Board, from Foston, was driving back from Manchester with a delivery when he collided head-on with the HGV on the A52 at Mackworth, near Derby.

Collision investigator PC Ian Phillips said the damage to Mr Board’s Ford Transit was possibly the worst he had ever seen when he arrived at the scene.

Mr Board, 54, was declared dead at the scene. He had sustained multiple injuries.

PC Phillips and Louise Pinder, the assistant coroner, praised the actions of HGV driver Raymond Nowack, who managed to avoid mounting the verge, where a pedestrian was walking.

Miss Pinder recorded a conclusion of accidental death on Mr Board, of Uttoxeter Road.

She said: “Mr Nowack did all that he could to avoid the collision in the few seconds he had to react.

“While I cannot be completely certain, from the evidence I have heard and on the balance of probability, I think Mr Board inadvertently and momentarily fell asleep at the wheel prior to the accident.”

PC Phillips, giving evidence, said the accident happened at 9.10am on September 2.

He told the inquest the weather was dry, visibility was good and that, following the collision, no defects were discovered on either vehicle.

He said Mr Board was travelling towards Derby while Mr Nowack was driving away from the city. Neither of the vehicles was driving faster than the 40mph limit.

He said: “It appears Mr Board had a maximum of four to five hours’ sleep the night before and drove to Manchester to collect medical equipment for his job as a delivery driver for BUPA.

“Our conclusions lead us to believe Mr Board fell into a micro-sleep causing him to nod off immediately prior to the collision.”

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