Driver failed to tell DVLA he had Alzheimer’s

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An Alzheimer’s sufferer who died after crashing into a tree may not have been allowed behind the wheel had the DVLA been notified about his illness.

John Stokes, from Lawshall, was driving along Bury Road in Hawstead at 11.20am on May 14 last year when he veered across the road and struck a tree.

An inquest in Bury on Monday heard the collision caused an intrusion to the inside of 64-year-old’s Vauxhall Astra and the motion threw him against the car door causing a rib fracture and collapsed lung.

“The Astra partially left the road when going around a corner, corrected and went onto the other side of the road and into a substantial tree,” said Pc Jeff Crib, from the Police Investigation Team.

Pc Crib told the inquest Mr Stokes had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in June 2013 and had been instructed to inform the DVLA, so it could assess if he was fit to continue driving. Although his partner and carer, Dilyth Hall, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the crash, claimed medical forms had been sent the DVLA they were never received.

“It is unclear if the licence would have been revoked or suspended if the DVLA had received documents and made an assessment,” said Pc Crib.

“It is plausible Alzheimer’s is the reason he lost control of the car. His carer also said he swerved to miss a pheasant.”

Assistant Coroner Daniel Sharpstone said Mr Stokes died from medical complications, including pneumonia, brought on by the crash on June 9.