A MAN who died in a horror crash had been drinking, had taken cannabis and cocaine and was not wearing a seatbelt, an inquest heard yesterday.

Conor Mitchell, 26, who was from the Bingley area but more recently living in Skipton, suffered a catastrophic brain injury when his car smashed into a wall on Skipton Road, Utley, in the early hours of February 20 last year. 

The young dad was taken to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), but died later that day. 

In a statement read out in the hearing, held virtually at Bradford Coroners’ Court, Mr Mitchell’s dad, Stuart, said his son had enjoyed a number of sports and supported Bradford City.

He spoke of being visited by police at home in Eldwick in the early hours to be told there had been an accident and they needed to go to the hospital.

The family then received the devastating news there was nothing more which could be done.

“This has been a massive shock for us all,” he said, adding that he was deeply missed. 

Mr Mitchell added that the hospital had not given up on his son and “did everything possible for him”. 

The inquest heard his son, who had a history of depression for which he had been prescribed medication some years before, had been drinking with friends the previous night at The Library Tap on Main Street, Bingley. 

Toxicology tests found he was over the drink drive limit and had also used cannabis and cocaine several hours prior to the sample being taken. 

Referring to a report by West Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Enquiry Team, coroner Angela Brocklehurst said that it had concluded that prior to the crash Mr Mitchell, who the inquest heard had six points on his driving licence from two separate speeding offences, was “driving at high speed whilst over the prescribed limit for alcohol”. 

He was also under the influence of cocaine and cannabis, he was not wearing a seatbelt, and, because of the dynamics of the crash, the airbags of the Ford Focus he was driving did not deploy, resulting in the “catastrophic injuries which led to his tragic and devastating death”.

In a statement read out during the inquest, Yorkshire Ambulance Service employee Jacqueline Johnson described seeing what she presumed to be Mr Mitchell’s car before the crash.

She recalled thinking to herself that “it was going like a bullet out of a gun”. 

People living on Skipton Road who rushed out to help and alerted the emergency services, spoke of the horrendous scene they were met with after the smash. 
Christopher Hewitt said he heard a loud noise - a car coming down Skipton Road - which sounded like it was approaching from the Keighley direction. 

In a statement, he said: “I could hear it was being driven fast because it was very loud and approaching quickly.”

Another neighbour,  Audun Carlson, described hearing a noise getting louder and louder and said: “I remember having this feeling that this can’t go well.” 

He described hearing a sound “like a bomb had gone off”.  

Mr Hewitt said the car got closer and he could hear “revving” before hearing a “massive bang.”

He said he went out to find Mr Mitchell in the car, who “did not look in a very good way”.

The inquest heard there was a scene of devastation, with major damage to the car to the extent that the engine was in the road.

PC Lee Hargreaves, who attended the scene, said the surface of the road was glistening because of the shards of glass strewn across it. 

Paramedics treated Mr Mitchell, while the fire service removed the roof of the car.  
He was identified by his fingerprints and taken to hospital.

Christopher Slater, a forensic collision investigator with West Yorkshire Police, concluded the car and road surface were free from defects, with nothing to indicate another vehicle was involved. 

He said the causation must rest with the actions of the car’s driver, Mr Mitchell.  

But, he said it was plausible that two calls to Mr Mitchell’s phone at 1.28am and 1.32am could have been a distraction, either by the emission of light or sound, when questioned by the coroner.  

The inquest will resume this morning when the coroner is expected to record her conclusion.