Businessman, 32, died after losing control of BMW in ‘biblical’ rain downpour

Businessman, 32, died after losing control of BMW in ‘biblical’ rain downpour

A businessman died after he lost control of his BMW during an “almost biblical” downpour, an inquest heard.

Harvinder Harvinder’s car swerved off a dual carriageway before landing on its roof and striking trees on the A361 at Sampford Peverell, Devon, last June.

Toxicology testing found traces of heroin and cannabis in the 32-year-old’s system – although there was no evidence to suggest a link between the use of the drugs and the fatal collision.

The inquest heard surface water on the westbound A361 at Sampford Peverell and low tread on one of the vehicle’s tyres had contributed to the crash.

In a statement, Mr Harvinder’s uncle Bahadar Singh, told how his nephew had been born in India and moved to England in October 2009.

Prior to his death had been living with his wife in Egham, Surrey, worked for Papa John’s, and commuted far and wide to help establish Fireaway Pizza restaurants at different locations.

On the day he died, he had been to visit new premises being refurbished in Bideford and was on his way back.

Mr Singh recalled: “He invited me to go with him [the day before] but I decided not to at 11am the following morning.”

Paying tribute to him, he added: “He was hard working and was loved and liked by his family.”

Statements were heard from two eyewitnesses who saw the fatal collision which resulted in Mr Harvinder swerving off the dual carriageway.

His car, a black BMW, landed on its roof and collided with multiple trees.

One of the witnesses described how driving conditions had been hazardous as the “torrential rain was almost biblical”, but at the time of the crash the rain had eased slightly.

He told how Mr Harvinder’s car was in the outer lane when he saw the back end of the car “violently twitch” and then shoot in front of him and into the air before coming to rest.

He recalled how it happened within the space of two to three seconds and that he had safely managed to pull into a lay-by.

The second witness, who was able to provide police with dash-cam footage, told how Mr Harvinder had lost control “very suddenly”.

A police investigation concluded there were no defects to the vehicle which could have caused or contributed to the collision.

However, it was noted although one of the rear tyres was above the legal limit, it was only marginally so, and the ability to clear surface water would have been “adversely affected”.

A post mortem examination confirmed the cause of Mr Harvinder’s death was a catastrophic head injury.

Toxicology results revealed “non-recent use” of heroin and recent use of cannabis.

However, it had not been possible to determine the amount of the drugs consumed, the time the drugs had been taken, or whether it had affected him prior to the incident. No traces of alcohol were found.

Recording a conclusion of road traffic collision, coroner Philip Spinney said: “Mr Harvinder had used cannabis recently, and heroin non-recently, in the hours before he died.

“It cannot be said to what extent, if any, this contributed to the collision.”

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