November 18, 2005
Highbridge man died in M5 motorway accident while over drink limit

An inquest has heard how a Highbridge man was killed on the M5 motorway while trying to drive to Weston-super-Mare despite being nearly twice over the legal alcohol limit.

Billy Cribbon, 20, died at the scene when he was hit by another driver while standing next to his car on the M5 between Weston and Burnham-On-Sea.

At the inquest into his death on Thursday November 17th, the coroner’s court was told that Mr Cribbon had left his home in Queens Square, Highbridge, to meet a friend in Weston.

In a post-mortem carried out after the accident, he was found to have 151mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – even though the legal limit is 80mg.

The court heard how Mr Cribbon, who had a two-year-old daughter, was driving northbound at around 5am on October 3rd, 2004 when he collided with the central reservation, leaving his vehicle straddling the inside lane.

Several drivers had already narrowly missed his vehicle before he was struck by Mark Jones from Exmouth, who was driving towards Bristol.

Mr Jones told the inquest that he had arranged a short holiday to Disneyland Paris with his wife and six-year-old daughter. They were on their way to catch a coach from the city centre to Bristol International Airport.

Mr Jones said he was driving at 70mph in the inside lane and moments before the accident had dipped his headlights when he spotted a van driving southbound in the opposite direction.

He told the court: “I just saw a flash of metallic paint. I said a swear word. There was nothing I could do. I saw Mr Cribbon. I moved the car left out of the way but it was just too late. Mr Cribbon was stood at the passenger door looking into his car. Then I just collided.”

Statements were also heard at the inquest from other drivers who had narrowly avoided hitting Mr Cribbon’s car or who had seen it on the motorway.

It is believed that the former East Huntspill and King Alfred School pupil had managed to get out of his Rover and had tried to remove it from the motorway when he was hit and killed.

Deputy Coroner Terence Moore recorded a verdict of accidental death and said there was evidence that Mr Cribbon had been drinking on the night of his death. He added that Mark Jones had “little time” to avoid hitting him.

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