Men died after their car spun into path of lorry on A5 near Daventry, inquest hears
Two men died after the driver lost control of his car and spun into the path of an oncoming HGV, an inquest has been told.
Driver Filippus Shilunga, 26, of Denmead, Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes, and passenger Gabriel Mweshihange, 37, of Copthorne Place, Kents Hill, Milton Keynes, both died at the scene of the collision just south of Kilsby on the A5 on September 27 last year.
Yesterday, an inquest held at Northampton General Hospital was told on the evening of September 26 Mr Shilunga was at the house of his friend Hassan Mohammed in Milton Keynes with Mr Mweshihange.
They had been drinking when Mr Shilunga said he was going drive to Birmingham to pick someone up.
Mr Mohammed told the inquest: “I tried to persuade them not to go. I said to them ‘you’ve been drinking, it’s not worth it’.”
Mr Shilunga left, driving his Audi, with Mr Mweshihange as a passenger.
The inquest was told by Dr Kunal Patel, who was driving north along the A5 from Weedon to Kilsby, that at about 00.15am he was overtaken by the Audi.
He said: “As I approached the crossroads with Welton to the left and Watford to the right, I saw in my rear view mirror headlights approaching at speed.”
Mr Patel said the Audi was doing around 90mph.
He added: “I thought to myself ‘that vehicle will be in an accident’.”
In a statement read out by the coroner, the driver of the HGV Timothy Ryan said: “I left Magna Park at 11.50pm and was driving down the A5.
“I had gone through the 30mph limit, and turned left at the roundabout onto the stretch of dual carriageway and driven on.”
As he neared the right-hand bend close to the Kilsby Lane turning to Watford he saw the Audi.
Mr Ryan said: “It took me a second to work out what I was seeing. I could see red tail lights coming towards me. I immediately braked, but there wasn’t time.”
John Underwood, from Northamptonshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, told the inquest that examinations of tyre marks showed the Audi had come round a left-handed bend ‘at the limit of adhesion’ with a calculated speed of 95mph.
As the Audi went round the bend Mr Shilunga started to lose control and the car began to spin anti-clockwise.
Mr Underwood told the inquest at the point of the collision the Audi had spun almost 180 degrees. The back of the car collided directly with the front of the HGV which itself was travelling at 49mph.
He said there was evidence both of those in the Audi were wearing seat belts, and added that the closing speed of the collision – around 150mph – added to the spinning of the Audi, had caused the car to break in two upon impact. The rear section embedded itself in the front of the lorry, while the front section was found 24 metres further along the road.
Rauna Simango, mother of Mr Mweshihange, said her son had been born in a refugee camp in Zambia, and was raised by his father in Namibia before moving to Milton Keynes when aged 19 to live with her on a working visa. She said: “He was a well-thought of member of the community. Gabriel was a quiet, private person. He worked hard and always put others before himself.”
In conclusion, Coroner Anne Pember said: “Mr Shilunga lost control on a bend and collided head-on with another vehicle.
“I find that excess speed was a contributing factor. Secondly, the ability of the driver to drive was adversely affected by the alcohol he had consumed. And third that there was nothing that the lorry driver could do.
“What a shame that Mr Shilunga did not listen to the advice of his friend Hassan Mohammed.”