An orphan who survived a crash that killed his parents two decades ago also died in a road accident just yards from the same spot while four-and-a-half times over the limit.

Dean Dewhurst and his two brothers were in the back of their family car in 1997 when a head-on collision killed parents Julie and Phillip on the A59 near Clitheroe, Lancs.

But in a horrible twist of fate an inquest heard that 19 years later Dean would also lose his life in a car crash - just near the same deadly stretch of road.

Ribble Valley Coroner's Court heard that like his parents, Dean, 28, was also involved in a fatal head-on collision.


Unlike his mother and father's death, the inquest heard Dean was four-and-a-half times over the legal drink drive limit when he got behind the wheel of his VW Golf on September 26.

As he drove down the same busy country lane in Clitheroe, Lancs, at 1.15am he was in collision with a Poundbakery van and a piece of the wreckage shot through his windscreen.

And when a police officer arrived at the mangled scene he found an 8 inch-long metal strip from the van had impaled him though his chest and pinned him to his car seat.

Dean, of Ribchester, Lancs, was driving at a speed of 50mph (80 kilometres per hour) when he lost control of his car and crashed. Giving evidence at the inquest, Paul Stott, driver of the Poundbakery van, recalled the moments before the accident last September.

He told the inquest: "I was driving towards Clitheroe when I saw a car drifting towards the middle of the road in the opposite direction.

"I flashed the lights to alert the driver, but he drove straight towards me ... 'I turned the vehicle to my left and struck a stone wall. The next thing I saw was a police officer'."

PC Simon Grounds, 31, was the first Lancashire Police officer on the scene in the aftermath of the crash.

He told the inquest: "On 26th September last year I was on patrol when made aware that CCTV had noticed a possible drink driver.

"As I drove towards Clitheroe, I saw a vehicle had crashed on the side of the road. It had sustained heavy front-end damage and there was debris scattered everywhere on the road.

"The passenger door had been ripped open and the roof bent inwards. The driver was not moving and I tried to get a pulse.

"He had been impaled by a piece of metal that had gone through his chest and through his back. I immediately called for assistance."

A post-mortem carried out by Dr Richard Prescott revealed a severe chest injury caused by the piece of metal.

Toxicology results showed Dean had an alcohol level of 346 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

Accident investigating officer PC Rick Harrison added: "There were no road surfaces or defects that could have contributed to the accident.

"The driver of the VW Golf was heavily drunk. He drifted onto the middle of the road and collided with the van.

"The driver of the van was unable to do anything."

The unnamed van driver suffered minor injuries. No one was ever arrested, police said.

Mr Michael Singleton, senior coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, concluded that the death was due to a road traffic accident.

He described the incident "distressing" for everyone involved and went on to pay tribute to emergency services.

He said: "My sincerest condolences to Dean's family. I would like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have to deal with the recovery in such circumstances.

"The injuries sustained by Dean must have been very distressing for those people who had to recover him in order for him to go to the mortuary.

"Many people were trying to piece together the effects of the great tragedy.

"I would like to express my gratitude and admiration for everyone who deals with these matters."

In 1997, nine year-old Dean, and siblings Paul, six and Liam, three, escaped with only minor cuts when their Honda Concerto saloon collided with a flat-back vehicle transporter.

Since Dean's death last year tributes have poured in for the "party animal with a heart of gold", who worked in the Derby Arms pub in Longridge, in Lancashire.

Neighbours revealed that after being orphaned, Dean and his brothers were raised by their grandparents and other family living nearby.

Friends said the "fun loving"' football coach and player at Ribchester Rovers Football Club had also spent time living in New Zealand and travelling Australia and Thailand.

Bill Edisforth, manager of The Derby Arms, said: "He always had a smile on his face, he always made all of the staff and customers smile back too.
"He was a big team member and was always willing to help out."

A spokesman for Ribchester Rovers said: "Everyone is devastated by the loss of Dean. Words cannot describe his loss.

"Dean has played and coached junior and senior football at the club for many years and he always had a smile on his face.
"The football club was close to the heart of Dean and his family."

Hundreds of grief-stricken friends and relatives also took to social media site Facebook to pay tribute to him.

Sian-Leigh McDonald wrote: "You will be forever missed. You were an incredible guy who always had the biggest smile.

"You have been taken way too soon. Rest in peace babe."

Donna Nicola, who met Dean while travelling in Australia, said: "Dean was the most genuine person I've ever met. He was one of life's true gentlemen.
"Everyone liked Dean, there was just a vibe about him that made you happy to be in his company.
"There will be a lot of people all over the world, who he met on his travels, feeling the loss today.
"It was an honour to have met such a kind spirit."

Counsellor Ian Sayers, who represents Ribchester on Ribble Valley Council, said of the family's triple tragedy: "It's a very, very sad situation."