A LABOURER who walked along the M56 after a night out was killed when he lay in the carriageway.
James David Garner, 22, was hit by a car at 3.25am, on Sunday, July 11 at the Stoak interchange.
A Chester inquest last Wednesday heard that Mr Garner, of Widnes, had been drinking on a night out.
He and best mate David Flaherty took a coach to the Destiny & Elite nightclub at Cheshire Oaks at about 11pm, where they drank more lager. They left at about 2.10am but missed the coach back to Widnes.
Mr Flaherty said they had no money for a taxi, but found a local bus whose driver offered them a lift.
'He said he would take us as far home as he could, which wasn't that far,' he said. 'He pointed us on to the motorway.'
The pair walked along the hard shoulder for 'quite a while'.
Mr Flaherty said: 'We saw lights across a field and we thought it was the Runcorn Bridge. Jam wanted to carry on that way. I wanted to carry on following the signs. I remained on the hard shoulder, he cut off.'
Witnesses later saw Mr Garner lying down across the carriageway.
Anthony Paul Frain, a self-employed forklift truck driver from Neston, was driving his grey Renault Scenic along the eastbound carriageway at about 3.20am when he thought he saw a box in the road.
In a statement he said: 'As I got closer to it I realised that it was a man sitting down with his back to the oncoming traffic, legs out in front of him. My immediate thought was he was drunk.'
His wife Lyn, who was also in the car, telephoned police.
Soon after, HGV driver Ralph William Smith, from St Helens, was driving his Scania lorry past the point where the M53 joins the M56.
He was travelling at 40mph in the slow lane and saw Mr Garner 'lying across' the fast lane.
He said: 'I pulled over to the hard shoulder, put on my hazard lights, reversed back until I was opposite then jumped out to see if I could get him off the motorway. I saw a vehicle coming. I was waving my arms to try and attract his attention. Then the car hit the person.'
The car - a taxi driven by Gareth Bashford - pulled over and reversed. In a statement Mr Bashford, who is sub-contracted to KingKabs in Chester, said: 'I felt my car hit something and it lifted up. There was a loud bang. I hadn't seen anything on the carriageway and this caught me by surprise.'
The police arrived and while they were talking to Mr Smith and Mr Bashford, another car - a red Vauxhall polo - went over the body.
Retail manager Patrick Joseph Ward was driving from his Holywell home to Manchester Airport with his wife and daughter. He said: 'I saw a lorry on the hard shoulder and a police car. I then changed lanes on the outside lane to give them extra room. I slowed down. I was immediately aware that I was going over something on the road.'
A post-mortem examination found Mr Garner died of multiple injuries. Deputy coroner for Cheshire Dr Janet Napier said the bus driver who had pointed to the motorway was guilty of a 'terrible thing.'
Mr Garner had lived with his grandfather, Trevor Garner, since the age of six when his mother died.