A BLIND pensioner was killed after he was hit by a car while crossing the road with his guide dog, an inquest heard.
Keith Allsopp, of Brookside Road, Frodsham. died after he followed his guide dog into the road outside his house straight in front of an oncoming car just two days after Christmas.
In the days following his death, tributes poured into The Chronicle for the much-loved pensioner who was often seen walking with his black Labrador guide dog Zane through the town and singing with Frodsham Folk Club.
At an inquest into the 74-year-old’s death on Friday at Chester Magistrates’ Court the assistant deputy coroner for Cheshire Michael Wallbank described Mr Allsopp’s death as a ‘tragic accident’, recording a verdict of death by misadventure following a head injury.
The inquest heard how at just after 4pm on Monday, December 27, Mr Allsopp was crossing Marsh Lane towards his house when he was struck by a blue Renault Megane driven by a 51-year-old Runcorn man.
Mr Allsopp suffered serious head injuries and was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital. He was then transferred to Walton Hospital where he died two days later from his injuries.
Speaking during the inquest Mr Allsopp’s cousin, Paul Spears, said the driver, William Morton, had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Born in Stanley, County Durham, Mr Allsopp had remained friends with his former wife Rita Allsopp who described him as a ‘very kind and generous man with a wicked sense of humour’ who loved people, music and his dog Zane.
Mr Allsopp’s neighbour Steven Stanley described the moment that he saw Mr Allsopp and Zane hit by the car after they appeared from in between two parked cars making them invisible to oncoming traffic travelling along the dark road.
“I saw the dog coming out in front of the car behind where I was parked,” said Mr Stanley.
“I reached into my car and when I turned around that is when I saw the accident. The car stopped very quickly but the force of the collision threw Mr Allsopp and his dog into the air and towards the High Street.
“The driver was sat with his head in his hands he appeared to be in complete shock.”
The inquest heard how driver Mr Morton, a park operative, had been driving home from a day of bird watching on Frodsham Hill when the accident occurred.
“It was starting to get dark so I was driving at about 20-25mph. I am always cautious on that road because of all the cars parked on the left-hand side,” said Mr Morton.
“Seconds later a person was standing in front of the car and I hit him. I didn’t see a dog. I braked quickly but I was unable to stop.
“I got out of the car and saw him lying in the road, I tried to call the emergency services but I was just pressing buttons. I think I was in shock.”
PC Michael Badley said that Mr Allsopp had been wearing dark clothing at the time of the accident and that the driver had been travelling slowly but had failed to see the pensioner in the failing light.
Zane, who was Mr Allsopp’s favourite guide dog, was not hurt in the accident and is being cared for by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.