Family’s tribute to son killed in Doncaster road tragedy

Daniel Thomas Cooke
Daniel Thomas Cooke

The mother of a young dad who died when he ran in front of a car has paid tribute to her ‘happy go lucky’ son.

Daniel Cooke told his mates ‘I’m Superman’ moments before he was killed when he was thrown 20ft in the air, a Doncaster inquest was told.

He had run in front of other vehicles before the fatal collision on Hampole Balk Lane, Skellow, last October after he and his friends had been drinking.

The 20-year old father of two young children had no intention of hurting himself and would have been disinhibited by the alcohol he had consumed, said assistant coroner Mike Mellun, who recorded a conclusion of misadventure.

Daniel, a flooring contractor, of Martindale Walk, Carcroft, died from severe brain trauma and his organs were donated for transplantation.

Helen Humble, mother of the former Campsmount School pupil, who loved fishing, said the family were devastated by his loss.

“Daniel was a happy go lucky lad, who enjoyed life to the full and would never put his life in danger. He lived for his family and his two children.

“He is going to be missed by many. They say not to judge Daniel because of one silly mistake which cost him his life,” said Mrs Humble.

A medical expert estimated the amount of alcohol in his bloodstream at the time of the collision meant he would have been ‘disinhibited’.

Before the collision, Daniel had run in front of another car, and a scooter rider had to swerve to avoid him, as he ran across the road while he and three friends walked towards an all-night garage for cigarettes.

Daniel had three lagers and a brandy and coke at a cousin’s house. As they walked he deliberately ran at a bus shelter, saying ‘look at me, I’m Superman’ and one of the group described him as ‘hyper’.

“He was walking in the middle of the road, all of us except Cookie walked on the path and I tried to drag him but he said ‘get off me’. He just ran out and just laughed. We told him to stop. He was showing off. I could see a car coming and told him to move, he didn’t listen.

“I knew what he was going to do. He didn’t mean to hurt himself, he just ran out and it hit him and he bounced up on the roof,” said the witness.

Car driver Jacob Vernellen, 19, who had not been drinking, said: “I was not expecting anything. I got about two metres from Daniel, I can’t remember whether it was a leap or he ran out. I did everything I could to stop the vehicle.”

Collision investigator Mark Smith said the driver could not have anticipated the actions of the pedestrian. “There was nothing the car driver could have done to prevent the collision.”

The coroner said Daniel’s tragic death arose when he was a little disinhibited. He said: “He did something in which he had no intention of hurting himself. He intended to run across and miss the car but unexpectedly Daniel miscalculated and he was struck by the car.”