A 32-year-old man died in hospital after suffering "traumatic injuries" in a collision in Northumberland.

Lee Sweeting, of Heaton, lost control of his car on the A189 Spine Road near to the Annitsford Roundabout in the early hours of the morning of May 7th.

He was taken to the RVI with critical head injuries and died the following day.

Following his death, his devastated family released their favourite picture of him smiling for the camera.

At in inquest into his death on Friday, Coroner Karen Dilks gave the family her "sincere personal condolences".

PC David Martin, a senior collision investigator for Northumbria Police, told the hearing that the collision was reported to emergency services at 5.55am and they then arrived on scene.

PC Martin said the weather conditions were dry and clear, there was no evidence to suggest the involvement of any other vehicles or persons and there were no road safety defects.

Furthermore there had been no recall notices issued in relation to the Nissan that Lee was driving or any other mechanical issues.

PC Martin also said that Lee had been disqualified from driving at the time of the collision.

The inquest heard that toxicology reports confirmed that Lee had traces of prescription medication in his system as well as cocaine.

The A189 Spine Road in Northumberland
The A189 Spine Road in Northumberland

However, the impact and effect that the cocaine had on Lee could not be estimated.

A witness named Paul Gough was driving to work when he described being overtaken at a red traffic light by a light-coloured Nissan car at speed near Four Lane Ends, PC Martin said.

As he drove onto the northbound carriageway of the A189, he saw a car which had left the carriageway and come to a rest on its side. He stopped his car and called emergency services before approaching the vehicle and concluded it was the same vehicle which had overtaken him earlier.

PC Martin said their investigations had led them to the conclusion that Lee had attempted to steer back onto the carriageway after losing control but this had caused "oversteer". However he said there was "no evidence of pre-collision braking".

The car collided with a number of trees before it came to a rest and parts of the trees had "invaded" the front of the vehicle causing his injuries.

The officer also said it had not been possible to accurately calculate the speed the car was travelling at immediately prior to the collision but estimates it was around the 70mph speed limit of the road.

PC Martin said: "It's my considered opinion that driver error on the part of Mr Sweeting, possibly exacerbated by the use of drugs, must be viewed as the cause of the collision."

Consultant Pathologist Dr Colin Saysell said that the traumatic injuries Lee had sustained were not "compatible with survivability".

A neurosurgical team at the RVI had concluded that there would have been "no benefit to intervention".

Dr Saysell said that it could not be determined whether Lee had taken cocaine regularly over the last several days of his life or taken a large amount in the period immediately prior to the collision.

Coroner Karen Dilks said: "The impact is subjective and we don't know about his tolerance or the specific impact on him but we do know in general terms that cocaine is known to impair driving capacity."

Dr Saysell replied: "Indeed."

He continued: "The formal cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries and brain injuries as a result of a car crash."

Coroner Karen Dilks concluded the hearing saying: "He made an error of judgement.

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"As far as my conclusion is concerned, it is clear to me that the conclusion of a road traffic collision is the appropriate one.

"I will however add that one of the most significant factors is that his death was contributed to by cocaine.

"So the conclusion is a road traffic collision contributed to by cocaine.

"If I may, could I just extend to you my sincere personal condolences on the loss of your son, brother and nephew."