Binman was speeding before fatal crash

A BINMAN who died in a horrific crash in west Suffolk was speeding in his dustcart at the time, an inquest heard.

Laurence Cawley

A BINMAN who died in a horrific crash in west Suffolk was speeding in his dustcart at the time, an inquest heard.

Council worker Jeremy Bird was killed after his vehicle struck a tree on the A1101 at Icklingham on November 26 last year.

An inquest into the 48-year-old's death heard yesterday how he and his colleague Richard Ship had just one more collection to complete before unloading their waste when the crash happened.

The Forest Heath District Council workers were heading down the A1101 when they drove up behind a road sweeper driven by Peter Webb, the hearing in Bury St Edmunds was told.

The road sweeper was travelling at 40mph but Mr Bird decided to overtake it as the road ahead was clear.

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Peter Dean, Greater Suffolk Coroner, told how Mr Bird's vehicle reached a speed of 56mph when he lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into a tree.

Mr Ship was thrown from the vehicle, but Mr Bird, of Centre Drive in Newmarket, hit the tree head on while still inside the vehicle. He suffered multiple injuries in the crash.

Dr Dean said although the legal speed limit on the road was 60mph, the legal limit for the Mercedes dustcart was just 40mph.

A separate inquest, also held in Bury yesterday, heard how a second Forest Heath District Council refuse collector, Kevin Flatt, died after he was hit by a Dodge utility vehicle driven by John Hill, of RAF Lakenheath.

Mr Flatt, of Peterhouse Close, Mildenhall, was walking in the A1065 near the Fiveways roundabout at Mildenhall when he was hit by the vehicle on January 20 this year.

Dr Dean told how other motorists had been forced to swerve around Mr Flatt, who had been drinking, and a number of drivers had reported a man walking in the carriageway to the police before he was hit by the Dodge vehicle.

He said there was nothing Mr Hill could have done to avoid the collision as Mr Flatt, who suffered a skull fracture and multiple injuries, was wearing dark clothing at night.

In written evidence to the inquest, Mr Flatt's brother David said: “He was kind and generous and an easy going person who loved his children and his family. He had a zest for life and enjoyed it to the full.”

Dr Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death in both cases.

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