Motorist was not wearing a seatbelt when he ploughed into a tree, inquest is told

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A Warsop motorist who died after crashing into a tree on a narrow country lane was not wearing a seatbelt and his airbag was switched off, an inquest has been told.

Geoffrey Collin Tomlinson had been heading along Moorhaigh Lane, Pleasley Hill, when his blue Ford Fiesta left the road on the evening of March 22 earlier this year.

The road surface was dry, no other vehicles were involved and there were no eye witnesses. The Trentbarton bus driver, who lived on Rutland Close, Warsop, died from multiple injuries.

There was also no evidence to suggest he was under the influence of drink or drugs, while records show he was not using his mobile phone at the time.

The 48-year-old was also likely to have been travelling within the 60mph speed limit according to PC Peter Paynton, a forensic collision investigator who was giving evidence during the hearing at Nottingham Coroner’s Court.

It was uncertain if Mr Tomlinson knew the airbag was switched off because a warning light bulb on the dashboard had been removed.

Efforts to trace former owners of the car to ascertain who may have removed the bulb failed to produce any results.

The inquest was also told that the car had been a ‘category c’ write-off, meaning it had been damaged in a previous accident, but was still repairable and sold on to Mr Tomlinson from a friend.

PC Paynton said the vehicle was roadworthy and there was nothing to suggest there were any mechanical defects prior to the crash that claimed Mr Tomlinson’s life.

Mairin Casey, HM Coroner for Nottinghamshire, asked Pc Paynton: “If the airbag was working, would the outcome have been any different?”

He replied: “I can’t give a definitive answer to that, we know he suffered serious chest injuries as a result of hitting the steering wheel.

“Had the airbag activated it might have prevented that, but it could have caused other injuries.

“It’s impossible for me to say, but he would have suffered life-altering or life-threatening injuries.”

Passing a verdict of a road traffic collision, Miss Casey said: “It’s not possible to say what caused the car to come off the road.

“It’s not complex, he was not driving under the influence of drink or drugs, using a mobile phone or travelling beyond the speed limit.

“There’s no evidence that the car he was driving mechanically contributed to this event.

“It’s unfortunate he was not wearing a seatbelt, however, we do no know if it would have avoided this tragedy.”

Mr Tomlinson’s family, who were present at the inquest, did not want to comment following the verdict.

Vitto Pizzuti, general manager at Trentbarton told Chad in the days after his death: “Geoffrey joined Trentbarton in 2009 and his tragic death has left everyone at the depot devastated.

“An integral member of the threes team, Geoffrey’s infectious humour always shone through, he will be sorely missed. All of our thoughts are with his brother Colin and the rest of Geoffrey’s family.”