Retired Merchant Navy captain was killed after being struck by a car as he left Scarborough Athletic match with his son

A retired sea captain was run over and killed after falling into a road - even though his son was standing in front of him desperately trying to flag down the oncoming vehicle.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 2:43 pm

Keith Wrightson, 62, had been to watch Scarborough Athletic with son Luke, 33, and the pair were walking home when Mr Wrightson Snr stumbled and fell from the kerb into the road, an inquest heard.

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He stood between his father and the BMW X1 shouting and waving his arms but to his horror the car did not stop.

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Stepney Road, Scarborough, where the collision occurred

Mr Wrightson Jr was forced to leap out of the way and saw the vehicle, driven by Vignesh Chandrasekar, 40, go over his father causing fatal chest injuries.

The inquest heard that the well meaning efforts of another motorist, teacher Danielle Fardoe, in flashing her lights to warn of the impending danger ahead may have temporarily blinded Mr Chandrasekar at the crucial moment.

Luke Wrightson was distraught at the scene as a driver and local resident brought jacks to try to lift the car from Mr Wrightson. He was heard to be screaming: "Dad, Dad, he's dead, he's gone."

Their efforts were in vain, with a forensic pathologist telling the hearing she believed he was killed outright by the impact of the collision, which caused the fatal chest injuries and 49 rib fractures.

Luke Wrightson, who followed his father into the Merchant Navy, told the hearing he and his father had been with friends and relatives watching Scarborough Athletic, also visiting pubs in the town before and after the game.

Witnesses described them as being under the influence of alcohol and Mr Wrightson Sr was found to be the equivalent of two and half to three times the drink drive limit at the time of the incident.

Luke Wrightson said: "Dad was just ahead of me when he lost his footing and started to stagger towards the road. I tried to stop him but unfortunately I was not able to.

"He went down onto the road lying perpendicular across the road with his head to the centre of the road.

"I cannot remember his exact position, whether he was on his back or not at the point he fell. I went to try to help him, trying to get him up so I was above him, slightly crouched.

"I saw lights and noticed a car coming and at this point I was not overly concerned. I was aware the danger was there and thought I would signal the car, waving my arms as it approached.

"I realised the car was not going to stop. I started panicking, shouting "stop" among other things but it became clear to me that it was too late and I had to get out of the way.

"At the last minute I dived towards the pavement and the grass. I'm not sure but I think my trailing leg was caught by the car.

"When I gathered myself after the car had gone past, I was looking for my dad. I had heard a bang as it happened. From what I remember I proceeded around the back end of the car and then looked underneath it and saw my dad , who was bleeding and unresponsive.

"For what it is worth, even though I'm not a medical professional, I was 99 per cent sure he was dead."

Miss Fardoe had earlier told the hearing how she had passed the father and son on the opposite carriageway and watched in her rear view mirror as Keith Wrightson lay on the road and Luke tried to warn the oncoming vehicle.

She said: "It all happened so quickly. I saw a car was coming. I flashed my beams to try to warn them that there was two men having difficulties. I saw the man had fallen over in the road and the other man was trying to get him up.

"He was waving his arms to try to warn the driver. I saw him jump out of the road and at this point I could see the car had actually gone over the gentleman."

Mr Chandrasekar was questioned by the Wrightson family's lawyer Dominic Adamson, QC, as to why he had been unable to stop when a driver was flashing her lights to warn him and Luke Wrightson, who was wearing a light-coloured coat, was waving in the road.

He told the hearing that Miss Fardoe's flashing lights had temporarily "blindsided" him.

Mr Chandrasekar said she flashed them once, then "frantically" then a steady full beam.

He said: "A single flash turned to frantic flashing. I was puzzled as to why that might be. I looked at the controls of my vehicle, including my lights in case they were on full beam. I also checked for warning lights in case there was something wrong with my vehicle."

He said it passed through his mind that he may have been the victim of a prank or even a criminal attempt to cause a crash and force a fraudulent insurance claim.

Mr Adamson asked him: "Did you see Luke Wrightson waving his arms?"

He replied: "I did not."

He was further asked: "Did you hear him shouting?"

He again replied: "I did not."

Mr Chandrasekar said he recalled seeing Mr Wrightson Sr lying in the road, moments before his car went over him.

Mr Adamson said: "The family is struggling with understanding how it is that you did not see Mr Wrightson standing in between you and the deceased, waving his arms frantically at you and yet you could see the deceased on the ground."

He replied: "That is the first view I had, I can only give you what I have seen."

Police accident investigator Sergeant Ken Riley told the inquest that Mr Chandrasekar was likely to have been affected by "disability glare" a phenomenon that can be caused by bright oncoming headlights.

He said the average eyesight recovery time was between three and five seconds for drivers.

However because it was not known exactly where Miss Fardoe's car was in relation to the prone Mr Wrightson, it was not possible to say conclusively the impact it had on the collision.

He told the inquest: "The more cognitive load the driver has, the longer the reaction time is and that is an individual thing for each driver."

Bradford-born Mr Wrightson, a Scarborough fan, joined the Merchant Navy in 1975 and travelled the world, rising to the rank of captain.

He died just weeks before the birth of his grand-daughter, to the heartbreak of his daughter Kirsty.

In a statement read to the hearing by Kirsty, Mr Wrightson's widow Gill, said: "We loved each other dearly and I thought we would grow old together.

"I am heartbroken. I knew I loved him but didn't know how much until I lost him in such a tragic way.

"The impact of losing Keith has been immeasurable for me and our family and friends. I especially worry about our son Luke because he saw his father killed."

Assistant coroner John Broadbridge adjourned the hearing until December 6 for its conclusion.