A Birmingham headteacher was unlawfully killed after his car was hit by a businessman whose speeding van was “massively overloaded” with beer barrels, a coroner ruled.
Daniel Slinn, 44, the head of Calshot Primary School, in Birmingham, died in a six car pile-up on the M5 near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, in May.
The driver of the Volkswagen van, Harbinder Singh Dosanjh, 35, and his wife Manjit Kaur Dosanjh, 35, from Coventry, also died after it flipped over the central reservation and struck Mr Slinn’s Mitsubishi Colt coming in the opposite direction.
Mr Slinn, from Edgbaston, was writing a children’s book his family said “could be the next Harry Potter” and which they have vowed to finish.
Recording unlawful killing verdicts on both Mr Slinn and Mrs Dosanjh, Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore said: “The white van, to all intents and purposes, exploded from the southbound carriageway across the central reservation into the northbound carriageway, creating mayhem as it did so.
“The situation was made more graphic because beer kegs in the van had exited and were bouncing along the carriageway. It is a miracle there were no more fatalities. Mr Dosanjh must have known he was driving a vehicle seriously overladen by almost 40 per cent. He must have known to drive a vehicle in that manner was dangerous.
“He caused the death of Mr Slinn and Mrs Dosanjh by driving dangerously.”
Mr Dosanjh’s death was ruled as accidental, after the court heard a bald rear tyre had blown out.
An inquest in Gloucester heard Mr Dosanjh, who ran a beer distribution business, was driving his load at between 85 to 90mph, before his tyre blew causing an “asteroid shower” of beer kegs to litter the road.
His van flew over the barrier and landed on top of Mr Slinn’s car at around 7.30pm. Mr Slinn's wife Lisa, 42, and 11-year-old daughter Carrie were injured. His second daughter Beth, 16, was not in the car.
Fifteen people suffered minor injuries in the crash on May 30 described by one witness as being “like the James Bond film Casino Royale, or something you see on a console game”.
Mrs Slinn said leading a “busy hectic life” was no excuse for the standard of driving that deprived her daughters of their father. She said: “Daniel was a wonderful husband, father and headteacher who was killed due to the careless driving of another individual.”