Troubled Dunstable man’s death on the M1

Ampthill coroner's court
Ampthill coroner's court

A troubled man from Dunstable was killed running across the M1 after consuming excess alcohol, an inquest heard.

30-year-old Luke Wheeler died after jumping over the barriers near junction 11 of the M1 on June 21 last year – running topless across several lanes before he was hit by a Range Rover.

At last Thursday’s inquest at Ampthill, it was revealed Mr Wheeler’s postmortem showed dangerously high levels of alcohol in his system.

The driver stated: “[He] seemed to come towards me and jumped on the bonnet, he was thrown forward and landed on the road... he seemed to have an intention to run into my car...

“I’ve not driven since the incident and keep trying to think what I could have done differently.”

Mr Wheeler, of Norfolk Road, Dunstable, was being treated at the Ash Ward of Luton and Dunstable Hospital at the time of his death, having threatened to jump from the top of Luton’s Mall on June 17.

He was allowed out for two hours at around 8.30am on June 21 in order to collect his belongings from home, after which he absconded. It is unknown what became of his bag and upper clothing or how he arrived at junction 11 shortly after 11.30am .

Mr Wheeler’s sister Louise stated that her brother was a vulnerable addict who was exploited by other substance users. Another brother Robert was at home at Norfolk Road on June 21 and described Mr Wheeler as behaving in an out-of-character and “demanding” fashion when he returned home to collect his belongings.

After leaving home, Mr Wheeler was said to have got into an argument with a drug dealer he owed money to. Mr Wheeler is alleged to have threatened suicide and was supposedly encouraged by the dealer, although it was stated this could not be verified.

Mental health services in Bedfordshire are provided by East London Foundation Trust and a serious incident review identified two care delivery problems, including nurses failing to note Mr Wheeler’s absence until 14 hours after his departure.

A conclusion was given that Mr Wheeler died running across the M1 having consumed excess alcohol.