A FATHER who died after crashing his car into a stone wall was over the drink and drug-driving limits, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt, an inquest heard.

‘Family man’ Christopher James had been drinking and taking cannabis and cocaine before he lost control of his Citroen C2, crashing into a traffic island and a stone wall in Haslingden Road, Rawtenstall.

An inquest at Preston Coroner's Court also heard how the 29-year-old, who was a disqualified driver, had been driving at 20mph over the 30mph speed limit when the incident occurred at 3am on October 21.

The father-of-one suffered multiple injuries and died instantly. A passenger also sustained injuries but survived the crash.

Coroner for East Lancashire Richard Taylor said Mr James, of Hardman Avenue, Rawtenstall, had been ‘ejected’ from the car in the impact, causing serious head injuries.

Road traffic accident investigator, PC Phillip Walker, explained how the car had rotated and crashed into the end of the stone wall after it was driven into a pedestrian island at an estimated 51mph.

He said: “Tyre marks along the direction that the car had travelled in along Haslingden Road suggest that the vehicle was out of control, skidding and sliding. It appears that the car started to go into an over-steer and rotate.

“The car started off in the correct lane when it entered the roundabout near the Tesco in Haslingden. As it exited onto Haslingden Road, the car began moving towards the centre of the road and hit a pedestrian island. This caused the vehicle to rotate – there would have been no control.”

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PC Walker said the road was slightly damp but overall driving conditions were good. He added that the vehicle was in working order, though one tyre was a space saver and the rear windscreen had previously been smashed and was covered with a plastic sheet.

Toxicology reports confirmed that Mr James was over the limit for cannabis, cocaine and alcohol with PC Walker confirming this would have affected his ability to navigate the road.

He added that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt and that there was evidence to suggest he was using a phone at the time of the accident.

He said: “Even with a seatbelt, he would have sustained fatal injuries.”

In tribute after his death, a family spokesman said: “He was a lovable rogue with a cheeky smile and a mischievous sense of humour. He would do anything for his wide circle of friends and family, especially his five-year-old son, Logan, to whom he was entirely devoted.

“He was passionate about sports cars and he was a regular visitor to cruise events at Trafford Park and the Drag Strip at Santa Pod.

Coroner Richard Taylor said: “It is clear that he should not have been behind the wheel, he was a disqualified driver who had been drinking and taking drugs.”