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Colchester bus collision victim who dived in front of vehicle ‘was on drugs’

PUBLISHED: 17:12 20 July 2016 | UPDATED: 17:12 20 July 2016

The Air Ambulance was called to the scene of a accident on Hythe Hill in Colchester.

The Air Ambulance was called to the scene of a accident on Hythe Hill in Colchester.

A man “dived” in front of a bus in Colchester while on drugs, an inquest heard yesterday.

Michael Byles, 39, died in hospital two days after the horror incident in Hythe Hill in April.

Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard Mr Byles had been in Clacton visiting friends on April 6 this year and became agitated as the morning went on.

He left with a friend for Colchester and while on Hythe Hill he got out of his friend’s car and stood at the side of the footpath at about 10am.

Coroner’s officer Debbie Frost said: “As the bus passed Mr Byles commenced a dive towards the bus, diving at the road surface.”

The inquest heard the driver of the single-decker Scania bus swerved to his right and braked but Mr Byles went under its rear wheels.

Mr Byles, of The Nayes, Basildon, had crawled out from under the vehicle onto the path at the entrance to St Leonard’s Church and was treated by paramedics there.

He was then airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and underwent an operation.

However, he died on April 8 from a pulmonary embolism due to pelvic injuries resulting from the accident.

Accident investigator Pc Steve Perrett said the bus driver took the correct action. The bus was travelling at 15mph on the 30mph single carriageway.

He said he couldn’t explain a shoe mark in road grime on the side of the bus – which matched Mr Byles’ trainer – or a “cleaning mark” on the bus.

Unusually in these circumstances there were no marks underneath the bus.

Pc Perrett continued: “The driver said he dived from the footpath on to the road surface. Steering was the most effective form of avoiding action.

“Mr Byles must have been very close to the front of the bus when he took this action.

“The driver reacted promptly. He swerved to the right but was unable to prevent the rear wheels passing over him.”

Pc Perrett added: “Mr Byles was under the influence of drugs, standing on the nearside ahead of the bus and dove into the road in its path.”

It was not said at the inquest what type of drugs were involved.

Family members asked about why the “so-called friend of Michael” who took him to where he died, had not been interviewed by police.

Pc Tanya Gorbutt told the coroner the individual had declined to give a statement. He had said he was not present at the scene of the crash at the time.

Senior Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded an open verdict after ruling out suicide and accident verdicts.

“We shall never quite know what was going on his mind before he seemed to dive,” she said.

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