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Inquest begins on driver killed in 999 smash near Brighton Marina
A driver asked “can I turn right here?” just moments before crossing into the path of an ambulance responding to an emergency call, an inquest was told.
Gary Tucker, 45, is believed to have died instantly from serious head injuries in the crash involving his Fiat and the South East Coast Ambulance shortly after 10.40pm on February 28 this year.
His close friend and passenger in the car AndrewBrown was seriously injured in the crash on the eastbound carriageway of the A259, near Brighton Marina.
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Giving evidence at the inquest at Brighton Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Mr Brown recalled waking in the middle of the 50mph road.
He said: “I knew I was in the road with no trainers on. Someone said I had been in an accident. I was not sure what was going on.”
He told jurors he remembered asking after Mr Tucker and a paramedic at the scene crying.
Mr Brown said he was collected by Mr Tucker from Brighton – as was typical for a Thursday evening – and the pair headed home to Saltdean.
He said they planned to go via Cineworld at Brighton Marina to look at film listings. He did not believe Mr Tucker, who he said enjoyed driving, was travelling at speed and the radio volume was low.
He said: “He asked me if we could turn right.”
In a police statement taken in the immediate aftermath of the crash, Mr Brown said he responded: “Go for it.”
At the time ambulance technician Julie Kennet was travelling in an off-duty ambulance along the same stretch of road and witnessed the crash.
Giving evidence, she said: “The car just turned right into the path of the ambulance.”
Paramedic Geraldine Chivers, who was in the ambulance which collided with Mr Tucker’s car, wept as evidence was given in court and was comforted by colleagues.
She is due to give evidence at the hearing, which continues today.