Father 'misjudged steep icy bend' and died in car river plunge
A father of two plunged off an icy track during the school run because of a steep bend which was carpeted in compacted snow, an inquest has heard.
David Cox, 42, and his wife Ruth were driving their children Tess, 11 and Ioan, nine, in separate cars on the school run when they both skidded off the narrow path near Buxton, Derbyshire, into the River Wye on January 24.
An inquest at Chesterfield Coroner's Court yesterday heard Mr Cox misjudged a steep 90 degree bend on the icy track and his Toyota Aygo slipped off the road and rolled into the water.
Tess managed to escape her father's Toyota Aygo uninjured but Mr Cox died after being trapped in the car in the icy water for about 45 minutes, the inquest heard.
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Mrs Cox, 39, and Ioan also escaped their silver Toyota RAV4 unharmed after the car slipped into the water at the same spot minutes later.
They launched a desperate rescue attempt to free Mr Cox at the scene of the crash near Buxton, Derbyshire, helped by neighbours.
The inquest was told Mrs Cox smashed his car's windows with a shovel and tried to prise open the passenger door but was unable to help her husband, who was by then unconscious. His "limp and lifeless" body was finally recovered from the car by emergency services. He was later pronounced dead at Stepping Hill Hospital at Stockport, Greater Manchester. Post mortem tests revealed he died from immersion after being trapped in the icy waters.
PC Ian Phillps, senior forensic collision investigator with Derbyshire Police, told the inquest the limestone track was carpeted by compacted snow and ice and that the conditions "could not have been worse". He said the icy track was "extremely difficult", particularly at the steep 90 degree left hand bend on the narrow track.
"David misjudged the bend and the speed on approach by only a small margin. This resulted in the vehicle sliding on the compacted ice," the officer told the inquest.