Published: 15:31, 15 May 2019
| Updated: 17:09, 15 May 2019
A man knocked down and killed on the A2 had been standing in the middle of the road shortly after getting out of a car to urinate, an inquest has heard.
Carpenter Franky Bryan and his friend Alfie O’Shea had pulled over on the dual-carriageway near Dunkirk minutes before the late-night tragedy.
Both men – who had been smoking cannabis – were in the road when 29-year-old Mr Bryan was struck by a Mercedes, suffering fatal injuries.
An inquest into his death was today told it remains unclear why the pair had been standing in the carriageway shortly before midnight on January 24 this year.
The driver of the Mercedes, Jake Bushell, told police he initially thought the friends were poles when he approached them, heading towards Canterbury.
When he realised they were men, he slammed on his brakes and verged to the left in an attempt to avoid them.
They each ran in opposite directions, Mr O’Shea towards the grass verge and Mr Bryan the central reservation.
But “for some unknown reason”, Mr Bryan, who was from London, turned back in a bid to reach the opposite side and was struck by the Mercedes 180.
A nurse who had been driving towards the scene attempted to resuscitate Mr Bryan, but he was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 1am.
Her efforts were praised by coroner Sonia Hayes, along with the actions of a passing lorry driver who parked across the road with his lights on to prevent other vehicles approaching at speed towards Mr Bryan and those helping him.
"These actions certainly helped prevent any more injuries," she said.
Mr Bushell told police he had seen a man – later confirmed to be Mr O’Shea – running away from the scene after the accident.
Investigating officer PC Darren Chapman said Mr O’Shea was "evasive and difficult" when questioned, suggesting he may have fled because he feared he and Mr Bryan would be in trouble for smoking cannabis.
Mr O’Shea claimed he had called for an ambulance, but records showed the only 999 call was made by Mr Bushell as he ran to help Mr Bryan.
In her conclusion at Maidstone's Archbishop's Palace, the coroner said she could not explain why Mr Bryan decided to turn around in the road as the Mercedes approached, nor why he and Mr O’Shea were in the middle of the carriageway.
"I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family - this was a tragic accident,” she said.
After Mr Bryan's death, tributes to him were left by the side of the road.
A small memorial included flowers, candles, pictures and messages.