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Motorcyclist was over drink drive limit before fatal crash
9:21am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in News
AN experienced Kidderminster motorcyclist who died in a mysterious crash in South Staffordshire was twice over the drink drive limit.
Richard Garfield suffered fatal chest and head injuries when his 600cc bike hit the boundary wall of a house on Bridgnorth Road at its junction with Wollaston Road.
Unanswered questions surrounded the incident, which happened on August 12 last year in clear, dry conditions as 47-year-old Mr Garfield rode from Wollaston towards Kinver at around 10pm.
An inquest at Cannock Coroner's Court heard the alcohol level in Mr Garfield's blood was one-and-a-half times the legal limit and his urine contained levels over twice the limit.
PC Mark Mould, an expert crash investigator, said: "His speed was too fast for the bend and he was on the incorrect side of the road. His judgement was probably affected by alcohol."
He added chevron warning signs on the bend were badly positioned and he had reported the problem to the Highways Agency.
The court also heard Mr Garfield, an unemployed engineer of Lansdown Green, had previously suffered from depression although his mental state at the time of his death was described as happy.
PC Matt Lovatt, of Staffordshire police, said Mr Garfield, who has been banned from the roads in 2004 for drink driving, had owned the bike for about two years, adding his family described him as a sensible rider.
South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said the incident was a “tragic accident".
He said: “Mr Garfield failed to negotiate the bend and things were going wrong a bit of a distance prior to the bend, he was on the wrong side of the road."
As he recorded a verdict of accidental death, Mr Haigh said he would write to the Highways Agency to highlight the position of the chevron signs plus problems with plant growth obscuring them from drivers' view.
Speaking after the case, Mr Garfield's estranged wife Emma said: "I have got the answers I wanted - it is a little bit of closure.
"We were moving towards a reconciliation. Two families have been devastated but now we have got to move on."