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News Archive > General > Inquest hears fatigue likely cause of crash

Inquest hears fatigue likely cause of crash

By Warren Wilkins 17th April 2013

an inquest heard.
South African Andrzej Okreglicki, 51, had completed the Ultra Trail South West running race at 9am on Sunday, June 24 and was killed at 10.35am along the A39 at Winnards Perch when his silver Hyundai i20 clipped a kerb and careered into the path of a blue Audi Estate.  
Mr Okreglicki, a cardiology professor in Cape Town, had suffered multiple injuries and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The inquest in Truro was told Mr Okreglicki had  run virtually non-stop throughout the weekend to complete the 100-mile three-day off-road race around the Cornish coastline between Porthleven and Watergate Bay, which is dubbed the UK’s toughest race.
Mr Okreglicki had not slept for two days between the start of the race at 7pm on Friday, June 22 and crossing the finishing line two days later. The inquest heard that he had showered, changed his clothes and eaten before setting off to drive to Heathrow to fly home to his native South Africa despite race organisers Endurancelife warning competitors not to drive immediately afterwards.

Witnesses stated at the inquest that Mr Okreglicki had been driving his Hyundai erratically moments before his vehicle clipped the curb and spun 90 degrees into the path of oncoming traffic.
Mr Okreglicki's car hit an Audi Estate, which contained four members of the same family on holiday. The driver Joanne Boyfield, her husband and two young children were taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro to be treated for minor injuries.

The inquest was told there had been no mechanical defects with Mr Okreglicki's car and no drugs or alcohol were present in his system. A post-mortem examination also failed to detect signs of a medical cause of his death, such as a heart attack, prior to the collision.
Coroner Andrew Cox stated Mr Okreglicki could have fallen asleep at the wheel after suffering from fatigue.
Mr Cox said: "It's a significant physical commitment and I have no objection to anyone taking part in races of this sort.

"My suggestion is that he may have had a medical episode, but I do not think it was the case.
"I think it is far more likely that, suffering from physical exhaustion, he has fallen asleep at the wheel while the car was on the highway.

“The temptation is to write to the organisers of this event and tell them they need to take more care to comply with guidelines. However, we don’t live in a nanny state and it is the responsibility of individual road users to be accountable for their own actions.
"The deceased knew he should not drive after an event such as this, yet he did so. He cannot escape criticism."
Mr Cox recorded a verdict of accidental death.

By Warren Wilkins 17th April 2013

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