Plasterer lay dead under wreck of car for a week
Plasterer lay dead under wreck of his car on motorway central reservation for a week after losing control in the middle of the night, inquest hears
- Sedji Sejdiu, 40, had been driving a rented Vauxhall Astra when he left the M40
- Father-of-one ploughed into a wooded section of the central reservation side-on
A plasterer lay undiscovered beneath the wreck of his car on a motorway’s central reservation for a week after losing control in the middle of the night and ploughing into trees.
Sedji Sejdiu, 40, had been driving a rented Vauxhall Astra when he left the M40, possibly after swerving to avoid a deer or after falling asleep, an inquest heard.
He ploughed into a wooded section of the central reservation side-on after leaving the northbound carriageway between Banbury and Gaydon – the impact ‘continuing to rotate the car and causing it to leave the ground’.
But Mr Sejdiu, a father-of-one, was not found until a week later, on April 12 last year, when an off-duty police officer spotted the wreckage ‘almost completely obscured’ by greenery and suspended between trees.
The officer, Detective Chief Inspector Aiden Donohoe, was crawling past the scene at 5mph in gridlocked traffic caused by another accident further ahead.
Sedji Sejdiu, 40, had been driving a rented Vauxhall Astra when he left the M40, possibly after swerving to avoid a deer or after falling asleep, an inquest heard (pictured: area on M40 where Mr Sejdiu left the motorway)
He ploughed into a wooded section of the central reservation (similar pictured) side-on after leaving the northbound carriageway between Banbury and Gaydon – the impact ‘continuing to rotate the car and causing it to leave the ground’
He said there would have been ‘no chance’ of seeing the car if he had been travelling at normal motorway speed.
DCI Donohoe dialled 999 and highways officers were sent to the location, discovering Mr Sejdiu dead on the grass.
PC Brian Perry, who also attended, said that after entering the wooded central reservation, ‘I was not able to see the vehicle until I was right next to it’.
Police were able to pinpoint the time of the crash to around 4.30am on April 5 after the Astra was picked up on camera further down the motorway earlier that morning.
Coroner Nicholas Graham said it was probable that ‘even if the discovery had been made nearer to the time (the crash) occurred it may not have made any difference to the tragic outcome.’
The court heard Mr Sejdiu, who lived in Maida Vale, West London, died of multiple injuries consistent with a road collision.
He had taken cocaine some time prior to the collision, which may have impaired his ability to drive, Oxford Coroner’s Court heard.
Collision investigator Siobhan O’Connell, of Hampshire Police, said that stretch of motorway was the only one she had ever visited with such a wide central reservation.
The court heard the metal central barrier ended around 100 yards before the tree-lined section where the collision occurred.
‘It is possible he lost control due to an over-correction of a steering manoeuvre, or from steering to avoid an animal such as a deer’, she said.
‘Marks on the verge show the car was already in a state of yaw, or out of control, when it left the carriageway.’
She said there was no evidence of braking, third party involvement or a vehicle defect prior to the collision. There were also no witnesses to the crash, or evidence that the collision was intentional, she said.
Miss O’Connell said it was likely the driver’s loss of control was down to ‘impairment due to drugs and/or fatigue.’
The court heard that it is mandatory for cars manufactured after May 2018 to have an ‘E call’ emergency function, which automatically alerts the emergency services to the scene of a collision, with precise co-ordinates. The Astra involved in this incident was an older model.
Earlier, the court heard from Mr Sejdiu’s sister, Elvira Lee, who said the family had no idea why he had been travelling near Banbury.
She told the court her brother – a semi-professional footballer in his youth – had become ‘extremely depressed’ after the breakdown of his relationship in 2015 left him unable to secure access to his young daughter, having previously been a ‘stay-at-home’ dad.
He ended up flat-sharing with an Italian man, only to run off with the man’s girlfriend, the court heard. But that woman told his family she last saw Mr Sejdiu in February 2022.
By the time of Mr Sejdiu’s death, the Astra had been reported as stolen because he had failed to return it at the end of his rental period, the court heard.
Concluding that Mr Sejdiu died in a road traffic collision, Mr Graham said: ‘It’s possible that the taking of cocaine may have had an effect, although that is not obvious. Given the time of day, it may have been that he simply fell asleep.’
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