Mystery surrounds the death of an HGV driver who was killed in a collision in Ellesmere Port last October.
Stephen Crosbie-Fawcett, 40, died after the truck he was driving crashed into the back of another heavy goods vehicle on Oil Sites Road.
An inquest heard that he did not activate the brakes when the oil tanker in front of his stopped at a red light, and struck it at a speed of 30mph.
The father-of-one from Leigh in Lancashire was not wearing a seat belt and suffered a fatal spinal injury when he hit the windscreen.
Assistant coroner for Cheshire Dr Janet Napier held an inquest into the death at Chester Magistrates' Court on Monday (March 6).
Stephen’s wife Nicola Crosbie-Fawcett told the court that Stephen had been driving heavy goods vehicles for 14 years and regularly travelled the same routes.
He had suffered some injuries from a car accident when he was younger and later went on to develop ankylosing spondylitis, inflammation of the spine.
While this limited his movements and meant he had to lead a less active lifestyle than he was used to, it did not affect his work, Nicola said.
HGV driver Colin Benyon from Blacon, Chester, described to the court his shock when Stephen’s Eddie Stobart truck crashed into the back of his vehicle.
He said he was on his second load of the day and was travelling towards Altrincham just before 1pm on October 6, 2016.
It was a ‘dry, bright, cold, still and slightly overcast day’ which was not out of the ordinary, he told the inquest.
He approached the traffic lights near to Innospec Manufacturing Park and as they changed to red he brought his truck to a stop.
In the driver’s side mirror he noticed a vehicle approaching quickly from behind. Seconds later there was an ‘almighty bang’ which propelled his truck forward about 65 feet.
Unaware that he had suffered from his own injuries Mr Benyon left his vehicle and attempted to make the area safe by diverting traffic.
He described fuel pouring from both sides of the Stobart truck, and of seeing Stephen slumped over the wheel of his vehicle.
Along with workers from the nearby manufacturing park he removed Stephen from the truck which he said was at high risk of catching fire.
They carried him about 20 yards from the vehicle and waited for paramedics to arrive.
Following the incident Stephen was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital where he suffered a respiratory and cardiac arrest.
A postmortem examination revealed that he died from a spinal fracture which was caused by accident trauma and exacerbated by his ankylosing spondylitis.
PC Robert Wilson from Cheshire Constabulary said that crash site evidence revealed that Mr Benyon’s truck was travelling at 30mph.
It came to a gradual stop at the lights - taking about five seconds to reach its final speed of just 2mph.
Stephen’s vehicle did not slow down at all and stuck the truck at 30mph. “There was no decrease in speed before impact,” PC Wilson said.
He added that there was a warning sign about 100m before the traffic lights which are set slightly off the road and are clearly visible.
There was no evidence of any vehicle failure.
At the end of the inquest Nicola read a note on behalf of herself, her son and the rest of her family in which she thanked everyone who assisted.
“We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved on that day,” she said. “It’s a day we will never forget.”
The coroner told the family: “You never think this is going to happen to yourself or your family. My heart bleeds for you.”
She delivered a verdict of death from road traffic collision.