Minibus driver died after suffering heart attack at the wheel

POPULAR David Stiller
POPULAR David Stiller

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FATHER-of-two David Stiller died after suffering a heart attack at the wheel as he drove his colleagues to work.

An inquest heard the 36-year-old crashed a minibus into a lamppost in Havant Road, Hayling Island, opposite Esso petrol station.

His colleagues from BAE Systems described their shock as the nine-seater van mounted the pavement, smashed into a lamppost and flipped over on to its side.

The inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall heard Mr Stiller, of Grebe Close, Wecock, worked at Portsmouth dockyard and would occasionally drive the work minibus.

The Pompey fan had picked up two colleagues, David Monkcom and Darren Taylor, in Havant and was heading to Hayling to pick up Rory MacDonald, who was waiting at the petrol station.

Mr Monkcom, who was sitting alongside the driver, said Mr Stiller had been his normal self, chatting and joking that morning at around 6am on March 2 last year.

He said: ‘I felt the bump of the kerb.

‘My first thought was he was probably pulling in to the left hand side, maybe the garage was shut.

‘I looked up and thought we are going terribly fast to be on the pavement.

‘That’s when I said “the lamppost”. I did not look across to Dave because I was transfixed on the lamppost.’

Mr MacDonald said: ‘It mounted the pavement, hit the lamppost, flipped up, spun round and landed back on the carriageway facing north.’

He and garage staff managed to help Mr Taylor and Mr Monkcom out.

Mr Stiller was taken by ambulance to Queen Alexandra Hospital and pronounced dead.

Crash investigator PC Michaela Mehigan said there were no vehicle defects.

Pathologist Barbara Borek said Mr Stiller suffered little trauma from the crash.

She said Mr Stiller had a history of asthma. She also found liver cirrhosis. Dr Borek said either of these could have caused sudden death, even if Mr Stiller had not had an asthma attack.

She said: ‘What happened is he had an abnormal heart rhythm which caused him to collapse.’

Coroner David Horsley, recording a verdict of natural causes, said: ‘It happened very suddenly and without warning with the catastrophic effect it did. I am satisfied he would not have known what was going on.’