Couple drowned after car flipped over into drainage ditch near Levens – inquest

A COUPLE tragically drowned after their car came off the road into a drainage ditch, an inquest heard.

David and Rebecca MacIntyre were trapped in their vehicle after it flipped over and became partially submerged during the accident near Levens on March 15, 2020.

They were described as a loving couple who were ‘made for each other’ at Cockermouth Coroner’s Court.

Mrs MacIntyre’s mother, Susan Sartain, said: “They loved being together and doing things together.

“They enjoyed travelling and holidays and always seemed to be laughing all of the time.”

The car was found at around 8.10am along the A5074 near the Gilpin Bridge Inn by a cyclist, who called emergency services.

The post-mortem revealed that Mr MacIntyre, 43, had alcohol and cannabis in his system as well as a metabolite of cocaine.

The concentration of alcohol found was above the drink drive limit in his urine but below it in his blood.

PC Craig Irving, a collision investigator with Cumbria Constabulary, told the inquest that the Vauxhall Corsa’s tyres were ‘over-inflated considerably’, which could have contributed to a loss of control.

Fatigue may also have played a factor, as it was likely that Mr Macintyre had not slept since the morning of March 14, the inquest was told.

They were discovered without their seatbelts on but the evidence at the scene suggested it was likely these were removed by the couple in an attempt to escape after the accident, it heard.

The inquest heard that the couple, who lived in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, had travelled down to Morecambe to attend a family christening on that day.

They were set to stay with Mr MacIntyre’s father, John, after the event.

However, some time during the night, they left John’s property – although it is not known exactly why they did so.

Just before 11pm on March 14, Mrs MacIntyre, 37, sent a message to friend Kirsty Richards saying: “I wish I could just come home now. They are doing my head in.”

Around 1.20am, she sent another message to Ms Richards telling her that Mr MacIntyre wanted to go to a nightclub with his brother.

Mr and Mrs MacIntyre later left the house although the exact time is unknown. They may have been hoping to find a place to stay in the Lake District for the rest of the night although it is not known why they did not decide to try and find somewhere in Morecambe or Lancaster.

Concluding, Dr Nicholas Shaw, assistant coroner for Cumbria, said that a number of factors were likely to have contributed to the couple’s death.

The evidence pointed towards Mr MacIntyre’s driving being impaired by the effects of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine, to him being fatigued due to lack of sleep, and to a considerable over-inflation of the car’s tyres contributing to a loss of control.

He concluded they died because of a road traffic collision.

The Westmorland Gazette | News