A town crier crashed his car and died as he drove to a garage for a Toyota recall, an inquest heard yesterday.
Tragic Frank Beer, 83, was driving his yellow Peugeot 107 (like the one pictured), which was made in a Toyota factory, to have it checked for a suspected faulty accelerator.
But he pulled out of a junction and collided with a Land Rover Freelander as he negotiated unfamiliar road works, the hearing was told.
Grandfather-of-three Frank, of Pensilva, near Liskeard, Cornwall, was driving to the dealership in nearby Launceston in March 10 when the tragedy unfolded.
Frank’s car was one of 6,000 semi-automatic Peugeot 107s recalled by French car maker Peugeot Citroen.
But the hearing at Truro, Cornwall heard from accident scene investigators who confirmed the suspected fault was not thought to be responsible for the smash.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Barrie Van den Berg, assistant deputy Cornwall coroner said: ”We will never know the answer to why Mr Beer did not take more care at the junction.
”It is a tragedy and I give my condolences to the family, including his son, Tim, who has spoken of the lively character his Dad was. I am sure he will be missed.”
Frank served in the Royal Navy for 22 years before training as a special needs teacher, the hearing was told.
He retired in 1986 and became Liskeard’s town crier, where he lived with son Tim and two granddaughters, having been made a widower in October 2008.
The inquest heard he suffered a minor stroke on January 7 which left him suffering memory loss and lapses in concentration.
He was advised not to drive but was declared medically fit a fortnight later and was back on the road by January 29.
Two months later, on March 10, he was driving the 30 minute journey to the dealership when he inexplicably pulled out of a junction known as the Two Bridges, on the A30 at 12.30pm.
Frank collided with a Land Rover, being driven by Claire Yule-Smith, 44, from West Sussex, and suffered a fractured skull, crushed spine and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mrs Yule-Smith said: ”It was perfect driving conditions and I was familiar with the road as I have been to Cornwall several times recently.
”I noticed Mr Beer’s car at the junction because it was bright yellow, and almost luminous.
”I didn’t notice who was in the car or whether he had seen me. He was travelling so slowly I assumed he would stop.
”But he pulled out as if heading for the central reservation.
”It all happened in about a second, there was no time to think. My car was right on top of his.
”His car span up the road and mine also span so it was facing the opposite direction to which I was travelling.”
Liskeard mayor Tony Powell said previously: ”He was not just a servant to the town council but also a servant to the town he loved.
”He was an iconic figure for the town, and represented it with dignity. Frank was a wonderful advocate for the town and he will be so deeply missed.”
Verdict: Accidental death.