Coroner's drug-driving warning at inquest into young Hebden man's death

THE death of a man in an horrific car crash has sparked a drug-driving warning.

Friday, 22nd January 2010, 9:47 am

Cristian Lee Dempsey was killed after the Rover 25 he was driving smashed into a lamp post on Burnley Road near King Cross, Halifax.

An inquest at Halifax Town Hall heard the 33-year-old had cocaine, heroin and temazepam in his system.

Coroner Roger Whittaker said the dangers of drink driving were well known but the consequences of driving while under the influence of drugs were more hidden.

He said: "It is clear that drugs of this nature can severely effect the way that people drive.

"I hope that this tragic accident will deter others using drugs who might also be driving to desist from that practice."

Mr Dempsey, from Hebden Bridge, was heading towards King Cross on the evening of June 18 2009 when the accident happened at around 8pm.

He crashed into the kerb, sending the car across the road into the lamp post on the other side.

He suffered multiple injuries and died at the scene.

The inquest heard he had been involved in an accident with another driver on Burnley Road shortly before the crash that killed him.

Chelsea Harris - the driver of the other car - said when they both got out he was slurring his words, and she believed he had been using his mobile phone while driving.

They agreed not to exchange details as the damage was only minor

Police said tests had shown Mr Dempsey had been using his phone while driving but not when he crashed into the lamp post.

A police crash investigator said he did not think speed had been a factor in the accident.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.