A 22-YEAR-OLD man who walked home along the M56 motorway after a night out was run over when he lay in the road.
James David Garner, of Deepdale, Hough Green, Widnes, was killed after being struck by a car at 3.25am on Sunday, July 11, at the Stoak interchange.
An inquest in Chester on Wednesday heard that Mr Garner, known as 'Jam' to his friends, had been drinking on a night out.
He went to The Albion pub on Liverpool Road on the Saturday with his best friend David Flaherty, who lived across the road from him. At about 11pm they took a coach to the Destiny & Elite nightclub in Ellesmere Port, where they drank more lager. They left at about 2.10am but missed the coach back to Widnes.
Mr Flaherty told the inquest that they had no money for a taxi, but found a local bus whose driver said he would give them a lift.
'He said he would take us as far home as he could, which wasn't that far,' he said.
The pair walked along the hard shoulder for 'quite a while'.
Mr Flaherty said: 'We saw some lights across a field and we thought it was the Runcorn Bridge. Jam wanted to carry on that way. 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 on the eastbound carriage-way at about 3.20am when he thought he saw a box in the road.
His wife Lyn, who was also in the car, telephoned police.
Soon after, HGV driver Ralph William Smith, from St Helens, was driving his 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 along. I was waving my arms to attract his attention. Then the car hit the person.'
The car - a taxi driven by Gareth Bashford - pulled over.
In a statement Mr Bashford, who is sub-contracted to King Kabs in Chester, said he was on his way home after dropping off his last fare in Northop at 3.15am.
He said he was driving in the nearside lane at about 70mph.
The police arrived and while they were talking to Mr Smith and Mr Bashford, another car - a red Vauxhall Polo - went over the body.
Collision investigator PC Michael Prime said Mr Garner had been lying in the road and was dragged under the taxi for 21 metres.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Garner, a single labourer, died of multiple injuries.
Deputy coroner for Cheshire Dr Janet Napier said: 'If he was in a lying down attitude I just hope and pray he was asleep.'