A MAN who died when his motorbike collided with a Post Office van in Henley had traces of cocaine in his blood, an inquest heard.
Michael Jiggens, 41, of Memorial Avenue, Shiplake, died at the scene of the crash in Wargrave Road on May 9 last year.
He suffered multiple internal injuries when his red Kawasaki Z1000 motorbike collided with the van at about 12.30pm.
Land and air ambulance crews attempted to resuscitate Mr Jiggens but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The inquest in Windsor on Wednesday heard how the van driver, postman Dominic Bool, had been pulling out of a private driveway to turn right on to Wargrave Road towards Henley when the collision happened.
Mr Jiggens was driving in the opposite direction around a bend when he swerved into the wrong lane, then back again before making an emergency stop which caused his motorbike to fall on its side and skid into the van.
In a statement read out at the hearing, Mr Jiggens’ friend Antony Lovegroves said he had been on his way to return the motorbike to the shop in Winnersh where he had bought it only five days before.
Mr Lovegroves was following him in his own vehicle through Henley when he was held up at traffic lights but Mr Jiggens continued.
The inquest heard he then came across a queue of traffic and became aware of Mr Jiggens lying in the road and his motorbike in a hedge at the side of the road.
Tony Reading, a forensic collision investigator with Thames Valley Police, estimated that Mr Jiggens had been driving at 41mph, only just over the 40mph limit.
A vehicle examination report by David Hoar found no faults with either the van or the motorcycle that could have been a contributory factor.
A post mortem showed Mr Jiggens had suffered significant internal damage and died due to shock and haemorrhaging.
Toxicologist Dr Mark Piper said no alcohol was found in his blood but there were traces of cocaine.
A report by Pc Robert Giles, of Hampshire Police, said it was possible that the use of cocaine had caused Mr Jiggens to overreact to the situation when he moved in and out of the opposite lane and made an emergency stop, causing the wheel to lock.
The inquest heard Mr Jiggens had previously used “excessive amounts” of alcohol and other substances to cope with events in his life.
Dr Peter Bedford recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Jiggens died in a traffic collision and noted the subsequent analysis which identified cocaine in his blood. He offered his condolences to the family. Mr Jiggens, who owned Resin Roof Systems, based in Market Place Mews, Henley, was married to Vicky for eight years and the couple had a 19-year-old daughter, Hannah, but separated about five years ago.
He had been in a new relationship with Jo Newbury, of Goodall Close, Henley.
Motorbikes were his passion and he had tried white water rafting in the Himalayas, bungee jumping and skydiving.
More than 400 mourners attended his funeral service at St Anne’s Church in Caversham.
• Mr Bool was originally charged with causing death by dangerous driving but in December the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case after what it called new evidence came to light.