A GRIEVING dad had to be restrained when he came face-to-face with the elderly driver who knocked down his son in a fatal crash.
There were chaotic scenes at a Hampshire coroner’s court yesterday as James Johnson lunged at 75-year-old Jack Doswell and threatened to kill him.
Police officers and relatives had to intervene and hold him back as the drama unfolded while coroner Simon Burge was hearing evidence about the collision from a witness.
Mr Johnson’s 20-year-old son, Steven died following the collision in Romsey on the evening of April 19 last year as he walked home in the middle of the road after a night out.
As the details of the final moments of Steven’s life were laid bare before the court, his mum, Ange Dandridge, 44, of Orion Close, Lordshill, sobbed.
As previously reported by the Daily Echo, Steven had been out drinking with his dad and was walking in the middle of the A3057 – which has a 60mph speed limit – when he was struck by Mr Doswell’s Vauxhall Astra.
The inquest heard evidence from the pensioner, a retired civil servant, who said he was driving home with his wife Jean when the collision happened and he believed he had hit a deer in the road.
Under oath, he told the court how he had drunk a small amount of champagne and wine earlier in the evening with friends but that he was not over the limit. He told the court how he stopped his car, got out and used a pole from his boot to clear a hole in his shattered windscreen so he could see out, before continuing to drive to his Romsey home.
The Doswells both told the court in evidence that, although two other cars stopped to help Steven, they themselves had not seen anything – something which coroner Simon Burge said “raises questions”.
The court heard how they did not report the crash until 11am the following day after going out shopping. Police went to Mr Doswell’s home and took him to Eastleigh police station where he was breathalysed and passed the test.
But Steven’s family struggled to contain their anger during the hearing in Winchester, with Mrs Dandridge, shouting: “You didn’t even say sorry.”
However, returning a verdict of accidental death, Mr Burge said: “This is not a moral court – it’s a court of law and the law is specific about what we can focus on.
“It’s difficult to think of a more dangerous thing to do on a Friday night than to walk in the middle of the road, in dark clothing, on an unlit road.”
Mr Doswell appeared at Southampton Crown Court last year in connection with the crash and was given three penalty points and £150 fine for driving while his windscreen was smashed.
Mr Johnson formally retracted his comments against Mr Doswell in the court.
Mr Doswell declined to comment after the hearing.
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