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Boss of lorry firm killed in collision involving one of his own trucks

The driver of the lorry heard 'shouting and screaming' and got out of his truck to discover he had run over his boss...

The owner of a HGV firm was killed while out cycling in a collision involving one of his own lorries, an inquest heard.

Jeff Atkinson, 76, was riding along when the driver of the vehicle hit him while turning out of the haulage firm's yard in York.

Mr Atkinson's staff said they didn't blame the driver of the lorry instead insisting that they thought it was dangerous for him to cycle up the inside of the vehicle as it approached a turn. 

The driver, Russell Bowe, had checked his side mirrors but was not aware of his boss's presence, York Press reports.

North Yorkshire Coroners' Court heard Mr Atkinson had told his staff and children 'never to cycle along the near side of a HGV' unless they were sure the driver had seen them.

However, the inquest was told Mr Atkinson, who had run J Atkinson and Sons Ltd since 1969 'broke his own rule' and was tragically killed in the crash on August 27 last year.

Mr Bowe told the inquest he heard 'shouting and screaming' and stopped to find he had partially driven over his boss.

Mr Atkinson's son Philip, who is also part of the family business, said in a statement to the inquest: "I don't hold Russell responsible."

He added he had viewed the company's CCTV which had captured the incident.

Tony Yates, another employee, said he was in a van following Mr Bowe's lorry and Mr Atkinson's bicycle up the private road from the base to the public road.

He saw Mr Bowe pause at the junction and Mr Atkinson cycle up the lorry's near side.

He told the inquest: "I thought it was dangerous for him to go down there and I wondered why he was going down there."

One of the lorry’s tyres appeared to be under inflated and he thought Mr Atkinson may have been intending to tell the driver about it.

North Yorkshire Police investigator Nigel Varney confirmed one of the tyres was less than half the recommended pressure.

Assistant coroner Jonathan Leach concluded that it was possible Mr Atkinson had seen the deflated tyre and decided to go round to the driver's door to tell Mr Bowe.

He concluded Mr Atkinson 'made a conscious decision' to do what he did and the cause of death was given as a road traffic collision.

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