A MAN who was killed after being hit by a car transporter in Dudley was the victim of a tragic accident.

An inquest heard Darren Smart had been drinking prior to the incident on October 27 last year when he was struck by a recovery vehicle in The Parade.

Mr Smart, aged 39, suffered chest and head injuries after he stumbled into the road and was hit at around 9.25pm.

After the hearing Mr Smart’s sister, Karen Shotton, paid tribute to him. She said: “He would do anybody a good turn and help anybody out, he always had a smile on his face.

“He was the life and soul of the party and would make anybody laugh.”

The inquest, at Sandwell Coroners Court, heard Mr Smart was seen by a friend just before the accident near Priory Park.

Witness Alan Hunt said he then walked along The Parade with Mr Smart, who told him he had drunk four or five cans of beer. Mr Hunt added his friend “wasn’t as drunk as normal”.

Mr Hunt said his friend fell into the road and after helping him up he carried on walking while Mr Smart stopped to have a rest.

Mr Hunt described what happened as he walked on, he said: “I heard a sound like the van going over a speed bump, I looked and could see something in the road – it was Daz.”

Following the impact the vehicle involved did not stop, driver Paul Darby, a car dealer from Merryfield Road , Dudley, told the inquest he was not aware of the collision.

He said: “I heard a bang from the rear of the vehicle, I thought a brick had hit or a strap had come loose.”

It was only the following day, after seeing news reports of the incident, that Mr Darby realised what had happened and contacted police.

In recording a conclusion that Mr Smart had died as the result of a road traffic collision, Black Country coroner Robin Balmain, said tests had revealed Mr Smart’s blood/alcohol level was above a potentially fatal level for people with lower tolerances.

Mr Balmain added Mr Darby had done the right thing by going to police.