Driver who died in collision was three times over the limit

A MOTORIST died after he collided head-on with a lorry while three times over the drink-drive limit.

Gatis Zanders, 31, of Saxon Court, Chapel Park Road, St Leonards, was on the way to Margate in Kent late at night on April 7 this year when the accident happened.

An inquest into his death was held on Wednesday and it heard that Mr Zanders, originally from Latvia, was not wearing a seat belt when he crashed his sister’s blue VW Passat.

A postmortem revealed that Mr Zanders had 237 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

Pavel Vytlacil, from the Czech Republic, was driving the lorry that Mr Zanders struck on the A259 Folkestone Road in East Guldeford, near Rye.

In a statement read out at Wednesday’s inquest, he said: “I became aware of two car lights coming towards me on my side of the road at some speed.

“There was then an almighty bang. I had no time to avoid the collision at all because the car was on me in a split second.”

Mr Vytlacil, a delivery driver, was on his way to Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to drop off a delivery when the accident happened after 11pm.

He needed hospital treatment for bruising to his head and legs.

PC Andrew Smith was off duty, driving with his family along the stretch of road when he saw the crash scene.

He said: “A young man was waving his arms in the air and told me there had been a car accident.

“I could see a large foreign registered lorry off the road, which had completely overturned. Directly in front, I saw the blue VW Passat.”

The inquest heard both vehicles ended up laying in a ditch on the side of the road.

PC Paul Munday, who attended the scene, said in a statement: “There was evidence that the driver of the car (Mr Zanders) was not wearing a seat belt.

“The lorry driver said the driver had crossed into his side of the carriageway so he swerved to try and avoid the car.”

PC Simon Lane, crash investigating officer, said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Zanders, a laundry worker, lost control of the car due to excessive speed and added his ability to drive was impaired because of the high level of alcohol in his system.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of death by road traffic accident.