Dyserth victim of tragic dual-carriageway collision 'walking on road in dark'

Reporter:

Terry Canty

A motorist who doubled back to check on a pedestrian she spotted walking a
dual-carriageway arrived seconds after he had been hit by another vehicle.

At an inquest in Ruthin it was revealed that the victim, 36-year-old café manager Mikal Juha, had 175 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, over double the drink-drive limit of 80.

Mr Juha, who was described at the time as “an adrenaline junkie” by his wife Jess, suffered multiple injuries in the collision and died shortly after reaching Glan Clwyd Hospital.

The inquest heard that Mr Juha, who was born in the Czech Republic and came to the UK in 2005, had been out drinking with friends in Rhyl on September 23 last year but they had lost contact with him in the early hours of the morning.

At about 4.15am Ella Bennett was driving her boyfriend, Richie Thomas, along the Rhuddlan by-pass towards the KFC roundabout when she thought she saw someone in dark clothing in the middle of the road who appeared to be drinking.

She drove on and then doubled back, flashing to warn an oncoming vehicle, but when she got back to the spot the collision had already occurred.

The driver of the car involved, Stephen Davies, told them: “I think I have just hit someone.”

In his statement to police Mr Davies, an HGV driver who had been on his way to work, said he was travelling in the nearside lane, which was in darkness, when something suddenly appeared in front of him.

“As soon as the object appeared I hit it,” he said.

He said the experience had badly affected him and he had received counselling.

“I think about it daily and will do so for the rest of my life,” he said.

Collision investigator Brian Grocott estimated Mr Davies’s speed at anything between 66 and 80mph, but there was no evidence he was exceeding the 70mph limit.

He said the collision was avoidable but as Mr Juha was wearing dark clothes and Mr Davies was using dipped headlights he would not have had enough time to stop.

John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, recorded a conclusion that death was the result of a road traffic collision.

Mr Juha, of Lower Foel Rad, Dyserth, who came to the UK to improve his English and experience a different culture, was a trained chef and after moving to Rhyl in 2006 worked at various local establishments.

In 2014 he joined Co-options as manager of the Harbour Hub Cafe at the Foryd Harbour, and under his guidance it soon became a popular venue.

He and Jess married in 2015 and his interests included mountain-biking, snow sports and power-kiting.

Email:

terry.canty@nwn.co.uk

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