A father of two threw himself in front of a 44-ton lorry just days after celebrating his engagement, an inquest heard.
The driver of the JMS Haulage heavy goods lorry told the inquest how he swerved to avoid Paul Davies when he stepped in the road, but that the victim then ‘leapt’ into his path.
And relatives told how he had been ‘quite happy’ when they last saw him during celebrations for his engagement.
Lorry driver John Jameson was driving the same route he took every week night when the incident happened on April 24 on the Black Country Route near to the Lunt junction in Bilston.
The 58-year-old from Rotherham told the hearing at Smethwick Council House yesterday: “I saw the person. He sort of stepped out onto the road. As I saw him I indicated to give him room.
“He then took another step into the road. I pulled across so I was in the outside lane.
“I looked outside the right hand side of the vehicle to make sure I was clearing him, and at the last minute he leapt across. I couldn’t have gone anywhere else.”
When Mr Jameson hit 43-year-old Mr Davies, who leaves behind sons aged nine and four, the tachograph showed a speed of 32 mph – the road has a limit of 50 mph.
Two nurses stopped to try to help Mr Davies, of Bank Street, Bradley, but he was declared dead at the scene.
Forensic collision investigator Pc Mark Weaver told the inquest that a report from another witness described Mr Davies as ‘playing chicken’ with the lorry.
He also said there was found to be 109 milligrams of alcohol in Mr Davies’ blood. The legal drink-drive limit is 35 milligrams.
He added: “The road environment would not allow a pedestrian just to wonder on this section. It was a deliberate act by Mr Davies to take this route.
“The collision in my opinion was caused by the actions of the pedestrian.”
Mr Davies’ mother Jill said the last time she had seen him was days before the incident at his engagement party, where he was ‘quite happy’. She also said his father, David, had sent a text that week asking how he was, to which Mr Davies replied: “There are a few problems, all sorted now.”
Black Country coroner Robin Balmain said death was due to a road traffic collision.