An Ixworth doctor who died in a head-on collision probably fell asleep as he drove home from a night shift, an inquest has heard.
Dr Ronak Patel, 33, had been talking to his wife using a hands-free mobile phone shortly before the impact and the couple had been singing to help him stay awake.
Today (July 11) an inquest at Bury St Edmunds heard the results of a police accident investigation which ruled out mechanical defects and road conditions as possible causes.
Accident Investigator Pc Mark Webb said: “It is my opinion that the most plausible explanation for the collision was that Dr Patel fell asleep which prevented him from having appropriate control of his car.”
Dr Patel’s VW Golf collided head-on with a lorry on the A1088 Ixworth Road at Honington shortly before 9am on August 3 last year. The VW Golf ended up partly in a ditch.
Dr Patel, a trainee anaesthetist, had finished the last of three long night shifts at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and had been anxious to get back to his home in Coltsfoot Crescent, Ixworth, rather than sleep at the hospital, his wife Helen told police.
In a statement, Mrs Patel said after her husband’s phone cut off suddenly she had tried unsuccessfully to call him back 14 times and then started to drive along his route home but was met by police who said there had been a collision.
Also in a statement, lorry driver Peter Stimpson said he had seen Dr Patel’s car come around a bend and start to drift across to the wrong side of the road.
Mr Stimpson said that despite braking and pulling his lorry to one side there was nothing he could do to avoid the impact in which severe damage was caused to both vehicles.
Dr Patel, who was declared dead at the scene, sustained a broken neck and other injuries, said Assistant Suffolk Coroner Yvonne Blake.
Ms Blake recorded a conclusion that Dr Patel died as a result of his car being involved in a collision with a heavy goods vehicle.