Why a popular DJ lost control of his car and crashed into a lorry is still unknown, a coroner ruled.
Daniel de-Lancey, 36, died after the Peugeot 206 he was driving on the A3088 westbound crossed the central reservation and collided with a lorry travelling towards Yeovil at 8.13am on Tuesday, April 10.
An inquest at Wells Town Hall, on Tuesday, heard that witnesses saw Mr de-Lancey swerve suddenly to the right before hitting the lorry belonging to Ilton-based company Chudley International Moving and Shipping.
The lorry driver then lost control of his steering and crashed into a silver Ford Escort that was travelling behind Mr de-Lancey’s car. Mr de-Lancey’s car spun out of control before coming to rest against a verge facing east. He suffered multiple fatal injuries and died at the scene, the inquest heard.
Recording a narrative verdict, East Somerset Coroner Tony Williams said there was no clear evidence pointing to why the former NatWest bank worker swerved, despite claims there were problems with the driver’s seat in his car.
The inquest heard evidence from witnesses who said Mr de-Lancey was driving normally and below the 60mph speed limit for the road.
Mr de-Lancey’s girlfriend, Carlotta Taglione, described how the back of the driver’s seat in his car did not lock into place properly. She had texted him the evening before his death to ask him to get it fixed, the inquest heard.
She told the inquest: “I said I was worried about the seat and he said, ‘it’s not as bad as you think, don’t worry. I’ve wedged the back seat against the front seat and it’s holding up. It will be fine’.”
PC Mark Stedman said he investigated these claims but could not conclusively say if the faulty driver’s seat caused Mr de-Lancey to lose control.
Phone records showed Mr de-Lancey was not using his mobile at the time of the crash, and urine and blood samples proved he did not have alcohol in his system. A small volume of a prescription drug used to treat depression was found.
A statement from Jeffrey French, a vehicle examiner, said he did not find any faults or defects with the DJ’s car that would have caused or contributed to the collision. No defects were found with the lorry either, the inquest heard.
Mr Stedman told the inquest the car suffered the worst damage he had ever seen. He said the back seat was down when he first examined the car which he initially thought was because Mr de-Lancey was carrying a lot of music promotional material.
On further examination, Mr Stedman could not lock the driver’s seat into an upright position but said he could not prove it was already defective or a result of the crash.
He added: “All our witnesses described the driver’s driving as normal. The only thing that has been highlighted is this seat and the position of it causing a loss of control but I have got no way of proving that. It’s just impossible.”
The Coroner said he was unable to say for certain the seat caused Mr de-Lancey to lose control of his car.
He said: “I don’t believe I’m in any position to come to a conclusion with regards to the seat.
“While its defective condition has been identified and PC Stedman was able to carefully examine the seat, there was no evidence available to me as to whether the seat had partially or fully collapsed prior to impact.”
Mr de-Lancey’s father told the inquest he lost his “best friend” when his son died.