Paramedic defends his "two different accounts" of ambulance crash death on A3

Deceased: Dr Rajesh Parkash

Accident scene: The A3 that morning Credit: Dan Rossell

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A paramedic gave an incorrect account of the events leading up to a motorcyclist crashing into his parked ambulance, an inquest heard.

Dr Rajesh Parkash, 43, from Sunningdale, Berkshire, died after hitting a London Ambulance Service (LAS) ambulance, which was parked on the outside lane of the A3 southbound at Claygate on March 14.

Paramedics from LAS were called after Brian Self, 77, of Plough Road, Epsom, jumped from the bridge at Clayton Road on to the northbound carriageway shortly after 9.30am.

After some confusion as to where the accident happened, the paramedics arrived at the scene and parked partially on the central reservation and outside lane of the southbound carriageway to help colleagues at South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb).

At the resumed inquest into Dr Parkash’s death on Tuesday, April 29, the court was told that Thomas Baverstock, an apprentice paramedic with LAS, who had been driving the ambulance, gave two different accounts of the incident.

When he was asked about what happened about three hours after the incident, Mr Baverstock told Kevin Brown, deputy director of operations at LAS, he had been weaving in and out of slow moving traffic to get to the incident and felt it was safe to stop.

But in a later interview, Mr Baverstock gave a different account.

Asked why he gave an incorrect account of the incident by coroner Richard Travers, Mr Baverstock said: “I have never experienced the stress and panic I experienced that day. This was a couple of hours after. I shouldn’t have done this account and given myself to calm down.”

Mr Travers said: “The account you gave is just factually incorrect wasn’t it? You were not weaving in between traffic”, to which Mr Baverstock replied “no”.

Mr Travers continued: “Why do you think you gave what is a factually incorrect account.”

Mr Baverstock said: “I cannot even describe it. This is a wrong account but at the time, this is what I thought happened.”

Asked whether he had undertaken a risk assessment after parking, Mr Baverstock said he had, but believed he was closer to the central reservation than he was.

The inquest also heard that LAS policy states it is the ambulance driver’s responsibility to ensure “the vehicle is not left in such a manner that would present a danger to road users”.

The policy also states that the ambulance lights must be used when stopped at a potentially hazardous situation and that ambulances must not stop “on any lane or on the hard shoulder” on the opposite carriageway to an incident, despite how urgent it may appear.

The inquest continues.

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