By Carl Jackson Friday 08 March 2013 Updated: 14/03 08:43
THE FATHER of Bromsgrove man Chris Gower who was killed after being hit by a van, has told the driver the family did not blame him.
The words came during an inquest today (Friday), which found the 24-year-old former NEW College student died as a result of an accident.
The incident happened at 5.15am on November 3 on the A448 Bromsgrove Highway.
Mr Gower, who lived at Cooper Close in Stoke Heath, was walking across the dual carriageway when he was hit by a white Ford Transit van.
The driver Roger Munn, 60, from Bromsgrove, had to answer questions about the incident at the County Coroner's Court in front of Chris' father Dave Gower.
The Shared Services worker told the court he was on the way to Redditch, doing around 50mph, when Mr Gower appeared in front of him.
"As soon as I saw him I pulled the wheel and put the brakes on. I heard a bang.
"I tried to steer away but it just wasn't enough."
Mr Munn also admitted to only having his headlights on dipped beam and was questioned about the state of his eyesight to which he said was: 'good for my age'.
Collision investigation officer PC David Reece from West Mercia Police, told the court the site would likely have been 'pitch black' and calculated Mr Munn would have had about a second and half to react.
PC Reece also estimated the driver could have seen Mr Gower from about 30 metres away.
However Mr Munn said he first saw the victims no further than five metres away and said the incident happened in a 'split second'.
A toxicology report revealed Mr Gower's alcohol levels were nearly twice the legal driving limit. He also had a 'recreational amount' of cannabis in his system as well as traces of MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy.
Chris' father David, a retired West Mercia police officer, told Mr Munn he did not hold any hard feelings but admitted he was struggling to understand why he did not see his son sooner.
"My wife and I do not hold you to blame for Chris' death. I wanted you to know that personally. We have to accept the fact he was drinking.
"I feel truly sorry that you have got to live with the fact you have hit Chris."
Chris died in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the same day as the accident. Medical evidence revealed he suffered a brain herniation as a result of a traumatic brain injury caused by the collision.
The court heard how his family had allowed for his organs to be donated which had already helped several people.
Delivering his verdict, Worcestershire Coroner Geraint Williams said he was 'surprised to put it mildly' Mr Munn had not used his main beam, and admitted there may have been a case for gross negligence manslaughter before a significant law change a few weeks ago.
However he concluded in the circumstances Mr Munn could not possibly have avoided hitting the victim.
"He didn't have 30meters, he had 15feet. It is inescapable he would not have time to react," he added.
Coroner Williams also described the attitude of Mr Gower's family as 'refreshing'.
"A number of people have benefited from the selfless act of this family and this young man.
"Significant tribute should be paid to the Gower family that in the midst of their loss they should consider others."
Family pay tribute to 'ray of sunshine' Chris Gower: http://www.bromsgrovestandard.co.uk/2012/11/06/news-Tributes-to-Chris-Gower-54838.html
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