AN elderly Cusop man who died while returning home from a friend's funeral last December had driven into the path of a 14-tonne lorry, an inquest has heard.

Cyrus William Clive Greenway, known as Clive, of Dinglefield Cottage, died at the scene of the accident at Much Birch near the junction with the Kingsthorne road at 5.45pm on Thursday, December 21. His wife, Olive, suffered serious injuries.

The smash on the A49 happened when Mr Greenway crossed over the junction from the Kingsthorne direction in his four-wheel-drive green Daihatsu and was hit by a Volvo lorry side on.

He suffered massive multiple injuries including two collapsed lungs, a fractured skull and a lacerated liver.

Hereford pathologist, Dr Frank McGinty, said there was no chance that Mr Greenway, a retired self employed forestry worker, could have recovered.

The alarm was raised by Andrew Phillips from Hereford. He had been travelling along the A49 with his brother in the Kingsthorne direction when they saw the lorry and the four-wheel-drive vehicle on the side of the road.

Mr Greenway was later identified in Hereford mortuary by his son Cyrus Greenway.

The driver of the Volvo was Ian McGregor from Bristol, a driver of 30 years who had obtained his HGV licence with the RAF at the age of 18. He had left his vehicle to seek help.

He was carrying a cargo of more than 110kg and travelling over the 40mph speed limit for lorries when he was in collision with Mr Greenway, shunting the Daihatsu across to the grass verge.

Giving evidence he said: "I was approaching the junction and saw a four-wheel-drive vehicle coming up to it. I was fairly certain he stopped momentarily, I transferred my gaze back to the main road and he pulled straight out in front of me."

Over speed limit

Mr McGregor thought he had been driving at 45mph and his tachograph suggested 50mph. Accident investigator PC Nigel Phillips concluded that the collision would still have occurred if he had been travelling at 40mph.

Mr McGregor, who delivers cleaning chemicals, was on his way to Quedgeley when he was forced to brake as the green vehicle pulled out at Much Birch. He skidded across the damp road and heard a bang. He said the couple had been looking straight ahead and the evening was dark.

The inquest heard that Mr Greenway had not been on the 'usual' side of the double junction to turn right to Hereford or to go straight across to Tump Lane and there had been no signs indicating which side should be used.

Both vehicles involved were found to be well maintained in an inspection by William Walker, a civilian member of West Mercia Police.

Deputy coroner Mark Bricknell heard that Mr Greenway had suffered eye problems but staff at the Victoria Eye Hospital had said he was fit to drive.

Summing up he said he was satisfied that Mr McGregor could not have stopped in time if he had been travelling at the 40mph speed limit.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.