Mystery surrounds death of Sible Hedingham crash driver killed as lump of concrete came through windscreen on M11

PUBLISHED: 16:17 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:17 10 November 2017

Police closed Goose Lane bridge during the investigation. Picture: JOHN STILLWELL/PA WIRE

Police closed Goose Lane bridge during the investigation. Picture: JOHN STILLWELL/PA WIRE

PA Wire/PA Images

A lump of concrete which smashed through a van driver’s windscreen as he drove along the M11 was most likely flicked up from the road or fell from another vehicle, an inquest heard.

The M11 as seen from Goose Lane bridge, which was closed for investigations after Andrew Brett's death. Picture: JOHN STILLWELL/PA WIRE The M11 as seen from Goose Lane bridge, which was closed for investigations after Andrew Brett's death. Picture: JOHN STILLWELL/PA WIRE

Andrew Brett, from Sible Hedingham, lost control of his Vauxhall Corsa van as he drove along the motorway near Birchanger and crashed into the central reservation.

Van driver dies in M11 collision

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, of Essex Police, told an inquest in Chelmsford today a 5.5lbs (2.5kg) fragment of concrete, described as around the size of a house brick, was found to have smashed through Mr Brett’s windscreen.

Mr Brett, 61, died at the scene of severe head injuries on August 9, 2017.

M11 fatal crash driver named as Andrew Brett

Mr Pasmore told the inquest: “Sadly, despite a thorough investigation, it’s not been possible to establish exactly how it came to be that the concrete block penetrated the windscreen.

“There are many hypotheses and we’ve looked at all of them, including aircraft – we’re near Stansted Airport. That’s at the ridiculous end.”

He said officers had ruled out that it was thrown from a motorway bridge or from the roadside, and it was unlikely to have been thrown from a moving vehicle.

It was also not falling bridge masonry, police said.

Mr Pasmore added it was “most likely it fell from a vehicle or was flicked up”.

If the concrete fell from a vehicle then an offence of death by dangerous driving due to an insecure load may have been committed, Mr Pasmore said.

“I’m unable to rule out third party involvement in this tragic death,” he said.

Mr Brett’s van was travelling at around 60mph when “for no apparent reason” it moved from lane three, the fast lane, and hit the central reservation.

It repeatedly collided with the central reservation, slowed considerably then crossed all three lanes and mounted the nearside verge.

The van came to a stop when it hit a tree, more than half a mile (1km) from its first point of impact with the central reservation, Mr Pasmore said.

He noted that Mr Brett was a “really sensible driver”.

The crash happened on the northbound carriageway of the M11 between junctions seven and eight at around 4.50pm.

Essex senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray, recording a narrative conclusion, said: “The deceased, Andrew Brett, died as he was driving on the M11 as a result of injuries caused when a fragment of concrete became airborne and penetrated the windscreen of his van.

“It’s not known exactly how this happened.”

She expressed her condolences to Mr Brett’s widow and two sons who attended the hearing, adding: “He clearly was a much-loved family member.”

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