A Luton dad-of-two died on Christmas Eve while “staggering” along a 60mph road having taken a cocktail of drugs, an inquest heard.
Ross Cowling, 37, was walking on Maulden Road near Flitwick on December 24 last year, when he was struck by a Land Rover.
Mr Cowling was pronounced dead at 6.22pm. A postmortem found heroin, cocaine, diazepam and possibly cannabis in his system.
Giving evidence at Ampthill coroner’s court last Thursday, driver Scott Anthony said: “I was driving carefully as I had my little boy’s Christmas present in the back and I didn’t want to tear it.
“The instant I saw him was when he appeared in my headlights, literally as I hit him.
“He came out of nowhere ... I slammed my brakes down.”
A collision investigation found the driver would have had 0.3 to 0.6 seconds to react. Most drivers require 1.2 seconds to avoid a collision.
Giving evidence, PC Steve Goat said: “The driver would have had virtually no time to react to avoid the collision.
“Witness acounts state Mr Cowling was staggering and approaching traffic. The pedestrian’s actions may have been exacerbated by intoxication.”
Maulden Road is a 60mph road with no footpaths at either side. The investigation judged that Mr Cowling was walking at least 1.9 metres into the road with his back facing traffic. He was also wearing dark clothing.
Inside two bags were Christmas presents, the contents of which were scattered across the road. It is believed Mr Cowling had travelled from his home at Signposts Hostel in Luton to visit relatives.
Coroner Ian Pears concluded a death by road traffic collision. Mr Cowling’s family described him as much loved and missed.