‘Great guy’ died in ‘tragic’ accident on pitch-black undulating country lane

PUBLISHED: 07:24 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:37 28 November 2018

Rokas Ivanauskas. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Rokas Ivanauskas. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

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A ‘much-loved’ Portishead man was killed after a ‘tragic’ accident saw him hit by a car after a night of drinking with a friend.

Rokas Ivanauskas, a 21-year-old Lithuanian living in Tydeman Road, died after being struck by Andrew Tooke’s Mercedes Smart Car on the A369 near Abbots Leigh Cricket Club in the early hours of August 11.

His inquest finished at Avon Coroner’s Court on Thursday, with assistant coroner Dr Peter Harrowing concluding a ‘tragic combination of events’ lead to Mr Ivanauskas’ death, which was the result of an accidental road traffic collision while walking home after drinking beer and vodka with a pal.

His family described Mr Ivanauskas as a ‘great guy’, adding ‘he was much loved and will be missed by everyone’.

A post mortem found the warehouse operative had a high quantity of alcohol in his blood and suffered multiple fractures in the crash – which occurred at around 5am – including to head and ribs before being pronounced dead at Southmead Hospital.

Several cars were forced to swerve to avoid Mr Ivanauskas, the court heard, with witness Anthony Stertckx describing him as ‘in a world of his own’.

Mr Tooke was driving to work at Portbury Docks when the collision occurred, and police supported his explanation of being ‘dazzled’ by oncoming headlights which meant he could not see Mr Ivanauskas stagger up to one metre into the road.

Undulations in the road were blamed for the blinding affect on Mr Tooke, who told police he had to look away as the oncoming car’s headlights appeared over the crest of a slope before he struck the 21-year-old while driving at the 40mph speed limit.

No street lights were turned on at the time. PC Neil Harris, of the Tri-force Policing Unit, said tests using dummies showed ‘it was much more difficult to see the dummy with the street lights off’.

Dr Harrowing said: “Mr Ivanauskas was walking along the Abbots Leigh Road when he was struck by Andrew Tooke’s car. Momentary dazzling from oncoming headlights meant he did not see Mr Ivanauskas and could not take any evasive action.

“Mr Ivanauskas was two times the legal limit for driving and died of multiple injuries as a result of a road traffic collision.”

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