Pictured: Paramedic whose PTSD flashback of dead baby made him crash

Pictured: Paramedic whose PTSD flashback of dead baby made him crash into classic car and kill two vintage motor enthusiasts

  • Paramedic Kevin Lilwall tells inquest details of the ‘worst day of my life’ 
  • His ambulance hit vintage vehicle the day after he attended baby’s death
  • CPS offered no evidence in criminal charges at trial of experienced medic

This is the paramedic who had a PTSD flashback which made him crash into two workmates enjoying their classic car.

HGV drivers Jason Allen, 49, and Andrew Ralph, 61, died at the scene of the collision after Mr Allen’s vintage vehicle – a 1930 Ford Model A coupe – was hit by the ambulance as they headed to a steam rally.

Paramedic Kevin Lilwall told the Hereford inquest of ‘the worst day of my life’.

The inquest on Wednesday heard that Mr Lilwall, who had worked for the West Midlands Ambulance Trust for 30 years but has since retired, had attended the death of a five-month-old baby during his previous shift the day before the fatal collision at 6.08am on 25 August 2019.

Moments before the collision on the A49 at Peterstow in Herefordshire, he and his paramedic colleague Craig Morgan had driven past the property they had been called to where the baby had stopped breathing the day before.

Paramedic Kevin Lilwall told the Hereford inquest of ‘the worst day of my life’ in testimony

Jason Allen had a flawless driving record and his brother said he ‘lived for all things vintage’

Mr Lilwall said: ‘I was feeling all right but I wouldn’t say I was feeling normal because the previous shift was still on my mind and Craig’s.’

He added: ‘As we were travelling up towards Pengethley, I went really cold, it was terrible, as if someone had walked over my grave. This face appeared with blue lips and fixed eyes, it got bigger, it was awful.

‘The next thing there was this bang. It was absolutely awful, I have never experienced anything like it. I still to this day can’t remember what happened.

‘It’s the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I have helped save people’s lives. You can’t say anything, can you.’

West Mercia Police accident investigator PC Mark Latham said on board CCTV footage from the ambulance showed how the vehicle had drifted across a continuous white line into the opposite lane.

‘Mr Allen took evasive action to try and avoid a collision,’ he added. ‘There was no response from the ambulance, no steering or braking in relation to the approaching vehicle.’

Andrew Ralph died at the scene of the collision involving an ambulance and vintage vehicle

PC Latham said the ambulance had been travelling at between 35-40mph, while Mr Allen’s car was also travelling within the 50mph speed limit and there were no defects with either vehicle.

He said he thought the only explanation for the collision at the time was that Mr Lilwall had suffered a medical episode, had fallen asleep at the wheel or had been distracted.

He agreed that as Mr Lilwall had taken action to avoid an unknown white object on the road 39 seconds before the impact, it was reasonable to suggest that he would have been conscious at the time of the collision.

Although Mr Lilwall was not tested for drugs after the collision, he took a negative drink driving test and told the inquest he had never taken drugs in his life.

He was subsequently charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving but not guilty pleas were entered and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence at his trial on 22 October 2022.

Herefordshire Deputy Coroner Roland Widderson told the inquest two expert witnesses, one a specialist in forensic psychology who conducted a report on Mr Lilwall’s behalf, and a sleep expert for the CPS agreed at the time that it was likely Mr Lilwall had suffered a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder flashback.

He said from the expert reports he had read, it appeared that he it was likely he was distracted by experiencing an image of the baby’s face he and his colleague had been called to try and revive the day before.

Mr Widderson said experiencing the death of an infant would have had ‘an appalling effect’ on any paramedic and there was no evidence of poor driving.

Mr Allen’s vintage vehicle, a 1930 Ford Model A coupe, above, was hit by an ambulance

He said post mortems showed that Mr Ralph, of Malvern, died of multiple injuries and Mr Allen of Ross-on-Wye, died of severe burns and recorded a verdict that they both died as a result of a road traffic collision.

Members of both men’s family who attended the inquest said they did not wish to comment.

But speaking earlier this week, Mr Allen’s father Douglas Allen, 88, said he and his family had found it hard to accept that no one had been held to account for his son’s death.

He said: ‘We have had to accept the CPS decision but we will never be able to come to terms with Jason’s death. He was a wonderful, hard-working man, who lived for his vintage vehicles and was loved by everyone who knew him.

‘He and Andy were great friends and they were on their way to a steam engine festival when they died. What happened is absolutely tragic.’

A CPS spokesman said: ‘We have a duty to keep all cases under review and to take account of new evidence and information as it becomes available. As the case progressed, we realised that our legal test was no longer met and the case against Mr Lilwall was discontinued.’

At the time of his death, Mr Allen’s brother, Jeremy, said the trucker had a flawless 30-plus year HGV driving career and in his spare time ‘lived for all things vintage with his collection of classic lorries and cars’.

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