Death-crash driver was three times the drink-drive limit

PUBLISHED: 19:13 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

Stephen Greaves

Stephen Greaves

A FATHER-OF-TWO who died in a car crash a day before his 50th birthday was three times over the legal drink-drive limit. An inquest at Hatfield Coroner s Court on Wednesday heard how St Albans man Stephen Greaves had been drinking wine with work colleague

A FATHER-OF-TWO who died in a car crash a day before his 50th birthday was three times over the legal drink-drive limit.

An inquest at Hatfield Coroner's Court on Wednesday heard how St Albans man Stephen Greaves had been drinking wine with work colleagues before the smash on December 19 last year.

After leaving work, he was travelling on the M25 anti-clockwise between Potters Bar and South Mimms at about 7pm when he lost control of his red Ford Focus.

His car then veered across the carriageway, hitting the central reservation.

The court heard how Mr Greaves, of Tavistock Avenue, had most likely lost control of the car and tried to recorrect it before becoming airborne and ramming into barriers.

Gary Rants, a lorry driver travelling on the other side of the motorway, told how he saw the headlights of Mr Greaves' car heading towards him.

He was then forced off the road when a lamppost, also hit by the careering Ford Focus, collapsed into his lorry.

Mr Greaves, an avid Spurs fan and former boy's world record holder at 800m, was pronounced dead at the scene after breaking his neck on impact.

Assistant deputy coroner Graham Danbury said that although the crash was caused by an "overreaction", the consumption of alcohol had to be taken into account.

He said: "It probably started with something minor. He thought to correct it, over did it and with each turn of the wheel the situation gets worse.

"It was the end of the working day and I cannot ignore that Mr Greaves had had three times more alcohol than the law permits."

He added: "The unusually high turn-out here shows he was a much-loved man."

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Mr Greaves was one of nine children who grew up in St Albans and went to Marshalswick Boys School.

At the time of the crash, his wife Alison said: "Stephen always knew the right thing to say. He was open, non-judgemental aqnd didn't expect anything from anyone. He had a very positive energy and made people feel better about themselves.

"Stephen loved life. He knew who he was and what he wanted from life. He was a family man and a loving son and father.

"He wore his heart on his sleeve and wasn't afraid to let his feelings be known.

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