Death crash dad did not know road

Burnley Coroner's Court
Burnley Coroner's Court

A father-of-four attempted to overtake a lorry on the wrong side of the road, an inquest has heard.

Mr Qaser Abbas (37) was driving his Volkwasgen Polo on the morning of December 1st last year when he became involved in a five vehicle smash on the A678 Blackburn Road, Padiham, known as the Shuttleworth link road.

A spokesman for Mr Abbas’ family, of Halifax Road, Brierfield, said that he was a devoted family man who was travelling to his job at a factory, which he had started just two days before, and was not familiar with the road.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard evidence from police accident investigation officer, PC John Birch, who said that CCTV footage showed Mr Abbas’ Polo conduct an illegal manoeuvre by crossing a double white line onto the wrong side of the road.

Seconds later it hit an oncoming BMW, before hitting the lorry, driven by Mr Neil Edgley, and then an oncoming Ford Fiesta and finally a Smart car.

PC Birch also confirmed that Mr Abbas was not wearing a seatbelt.

Other motorists caught up in the accident sustained serious injuries and had to undergo months of recovery.

Forensic toxicologist Dr Simon Elliott told the inquest that post-mortem tests revealed the presence of the so-called legal high 1P-LSD in his blood, which was not present in a second test, as well as a quantity of cannabis.

Dr Elliott said: “This is the first time in the world that this substance has ever been detected in an individual. It is a chemical derivative, which has similar psychedelic effects of LSD, designed to get around the banned substance.

“The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was introduced to restrict the production and sale of these substances often referred to as ‘legal highs’.

“LSD is traditionally taken in the form of a blotter, but this derivative was also sold in powder form, meaning somebody could easily take an excessive amount.

“Its effects would create an auditory visual hallucination – a psychedelic trip. It was not present on a second test so we cannot say with an certainty when it was taken.”

Deputy East Lancashire Coroner Mr Mark Williams said it could not be ascertained what effect the drugs found in Mr Abbas’ system had on his driving.

Recording a conclusion of a road traffic collision, Mr Williams said: “Toxicology tests showed some evidence of prior cannabis use and an LSD substitute.

“The extent to which these affected his driving cannot be ascertained. I don’t read a lot into the 1P-LSD as its effect is very difficult to estimate.

“Mr Abbas was travelling in a northerly direction, downhill, on a road he was unfamiliar with when in contravention of a double white line he moved into the central lane. The decision proved fatal.”