A boozy driver crashed into a central reservation before disappearing down an embankment in his car where he lay dead in his car for six hours, an inquest heard.
Shaun Gorman, 32, was driving his silver Vauxhall Corsa along the M5 when he smashed into the barrier and careered through the bushes and into a tree.
The tragic crash happened shortly after 11pm on August 7, 2019, but Mr Gorman was not found until daybreak the following morning.
A lorry driver spotted the wreckage shortly before 5.30am and called the police, when his body was discovered still inside.
Gloucester Coroners Court heard Mr Gorman had probably fallen asleep at the wheel due to the combined effects of drinking and taking a sedative medication prescribed to help tackle his alcohol addiction.
Paramedic Thomas Robertson, the first medic on the scene, told the inquest:
“The roof of the vehicle had been caved in with such force that the occupant was still in the driver’s seat, but the seat had been flattened and was now laying back into the rear seat.
“The driver’s head was flexed forward with his chin hard against his chest, pinned down by the compressed roof.
“The occupant had died a number of hours before being found and further interference with the scene was unnecessary. I documented that Mr Gorman’s life was extinct at 6.02am on August 8, 2019.”
Mr Gorman had joined the motorway at Bromsgrove and was driving south near Cheltenham at the time of the crash.
The inquest was told Mr Gorman collided with the central reservation before rebounding at 90 degrees across the carriageway and hard shoulder and then disappearing out of sight down the embankment.
Post mortem tests showed he was around one-and-a half times over the drink drive limit at the time and had taken a high dosage of medication prescribed to help him deal with alcohol withdrawal.
Gloucestershire Police’s collision investigator PC Peter Stone told the inquest Mr Gorman’s Corsa rolled over when it struck a concrete ditch.
He said: “He collided with several small trees as the vehicle travelled down an embankment.
“As the car reached the bottom of the embankment the nearside wheels entered a concrete ditch which caused the Corsa to roll over.
“It came to rest against a mature tree, which caused extensive damage to the roof of the vehicle.”
PC Stone said he could not find any evidence of another vehicle being involved or of any wild animal or other hazard on the motorway.
The inquest was told that Mr Gorman was being treated for alcohol addiction and was prescribed chlordiazepoxide, also known as Librium.
Pathologist Professor Neil Shepherd, who carried out the post mortem, said Mr Gorman was over the drink drive limit according to alcohol levels in his blood.
He said: “A considerable amount of ethanol was detected in Mr Gorman’s blood – an amount that exceeded the limit for driving.
“Other drugs were also found at therapeutic levels along with chlordiazepoxide which was said to be very high.”
Prof Shepherd added: “Chlordiazepoxide and alcohol should not be taken together as they have depressant effects which would have affected Mr Gorman’s driving ability and would have been a contributory factor in the incident.
“The final cause of death however was multiple injuries.”
Assistant Gloucestershire coroner Roland Wooderson said Mr Gorman had been evaluated as being one-and-a-half times over the drink drive limit.
He agreed that Mr Gorman had most likely fallen asleep whilst driving, having consumed a quantity of alcohol which had reacted with the chlordiazepoxide.
Mr Wooderson said: “Mr Gorman had woken up as the car entered the central reservation following which he lost control of the vehicle and ultimately died from his multiple injuries sustained in the collision that followed.”