Man's short walk turned into dual carriageway tragedy on A55


Thomas Morton

A DEMENTIA sufferer was hit by three cars as he tried to cross a dual carriageway in the dark.

Raymond Braisdell, 69, of Holt Road, Wrexham, was killed instantly as he walked out in front of traffic on the A55 at Rhuallt Hill at about 9.30pm on August 18, an inquest heard yesterday.

He had only intended to go for a short walk from the caravan park in Kinmel Bay where he was staying.

But the walk turned into a three-hour trek as he told those he met he was trying to hitch-hike back to Wrexham.

But he got out after a lift and was hit by three cars while crossing the expressway. His death was ‘instantaneous’, the coroner said.

The father of six, a retired labourer, had gone on holiday with his wife Valerie having spent the previous five months in hospital.

He had suffered health problems, including a heart attack and cancer, since 1996, and was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010.But Mrs Braisdell told a coroner’s court at County Hall, Ruthin, he still enjoyed going for walks and was able to get about with the aid of a stick.

“At about 6pm he said ‘I’m going for a walk. I’m only going up the road’.” she said
“I said ‘don’t be long’, but he didn’t come back.”

He was picked up by Raymond Davies, who was driving home from work towards St Asaph and saw him sticking his thumb out on St Asaph Avenue.

As he was having trouble walking, Mr Davies said: “I felt sorry for him, so I did something I never do and I stopped to give him a lift.”

Mr Braisdell said he was going to Wrexham but would rather be dropped on the main road to hitch another lift as he had lost his bus pass.

Mr Davies dropped him at the roundabout near the Talardy hotel on junction 27 of the A55.

“My last words to him were ‘be very careful, you’re on the A55’,” he said, and Mr Braisdell thanked him.

“When I saw the headlines in the paper the next morning I said ‘I bet that’s that poor chap,” Mr Davies said.

At about 8.30pm Martin and Amanda Jones on Holywell Road, Rhuallt, met Mr Braisdell as he asked directions to Wrexham. Mrs Jones said he crossed the road without looking and a car have to swerve around him.

At about 9.30pm Paul Julian of Rhyl was travelling towards Chester on the A55. He took a left turn and suddenly saw ‘the side of a person’s face’. He braked and swerved but the next he knew was the windscreen breaking and the roof of his Ford Focus coming in.

“There was nothing I could have done to avoid the person,” he said. “As soon as I saw the face the impact happened. You just don’t expect to see anyone crossing the road there.”

He said he had ‘flashbacks all the time’ and was now on anti-depressants.

Traffic investigator PC Victoria Jones said two more cars had struck Mr Braisdell after Mr Julian, but neither knew what they had hit.

CCTV showed Mr Braisdell had already cross the two westbound lanes, then climbed over the central reservation and crossed two of the three eastbound lanes.

He was wearing dark clothes and there was no ambient or street lighting, though he would have had a clear view of Mr Julian’s headlights when he stepped out into the road, she said. Mr Julian, however, would have only seen Mr Braisdell at 42 metres, when it takes at least 80m to stop at 60mph.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be “multiple massive traumatic injuries due to a road traffic accident”.

North East Wales coroner John Gittins said “He would not, as a result of his illness, have had any perception of road safety.”

He said though he was struck by three vehicles, the first collision would have caused ‘instantaneous death’. “He simply would not have known about this,” he said.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

See full story in the Free Press

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