Fatal crash driver from Caergwrle six times drink-drive limit


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A FORMER landlord was six times the drink-drive limit when he died after crashing into a lorry, an inquest heard.

Father-of-three Didier Rene Paul Chupeau, 56, was not wearing a seat belt when he ploughed into the back of a large goods vehicle parked in a layby on the A55 near Northop.

The Royal Mail worker, who lived on Derby Road, Caergwrle, had previously run The Red Lion in Hope and was a member of the City of Chester Brass Band.

Toxicology reports showed Mr Chupeau had an alcohol level of 534mg in 100ml of blood, enough to render an adult male unconscious. The legal limit is 80mg.

Originally from Picardy in France, Mr Chupeau was described at yesterday's inquest at County Hall in Ruthin as “a gentleman”.

Nerys Jones, his partner of nine years, told the inquest: "We kept very little alcohol in the house and he didn’t drink regularly or excessively.

“He didn’t flout the law in drink-drive terms or not wearing a seatbelt.”

She said there “appeared to be nothing wrong at all” when she last saw him at 2.30pm on August 15 last year.

His daughter, Carolyn Chupeau, said: “Even when he owned the Red Lion he would never go out in the car if he had had a drink. It is upsetting and surprising to hear this.”

The collision took place just before 4.10pm and the statement of David Ogden, who witnessed the incident near junction 32a, was read out in court.

It stated: “Nothing stood out about the way the vehicle was being driven. I watched as the car entered the layby.

“The driver gave no indication and there were no brake lights.

“The movement was gradual – there was no sudden swerve.

“It was as if the driver hadn’t seen the truck.

“He made no attempt to change course.”

Forensic vehicle examinations discovered no mechanical defects on the grey Nissan Almera Mr Chupeau had been driving and confirmed the seat belt had not been in use.

A post mortem examination revealed Mr Chupeau, who only had sight in one eye, had suffered multiple injuries.

North Wales coroner John Gittins said he had known Mr Chupeau in a professional capacity and described him as “a gentleman”.

He reached a conclusion of death arising as a result of a road traffic collision.

“He was significantly over the drink-drive limit,” he said.  “The substantial alcohol levels are likely to have had a direct contribution.

“I cannot be certain that he intended this as a deliberate act. His passing is a sad loss to all who knew him.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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