Emergency services gave the lowest callout priority to a 999 call about a man who was seen walking on the M62 - just before he was hit by a car and died.
Electrician Ben Lloyd, 24, from Womersley, passed away after he was struck by a VW Polo on the motorway near Castleford at about 3.40am on December 21 2013.
An inquest heard he had been on a night out in Pontefract when the tragedy happened.
Speaking on the third day of a four-day inquiry into Mr Lloyd’s death, Chief Inspector Mark Jessop, head of West Yorkshire Police’s communications command, said that due to the way police pass on emergency calls to the Highways Agency, the initial 999 report on Mr Lloyd being spotted walking on the motorway was given a “standard” tag, which only requires a response within four hours. By contrast, ‘emergency’ requires a 15 minute response, with ‘priority’ calls needing a one-hour turnaround.
Wakefield Coroners’ Court heard yesterday that the grading policy applies to all reports of pedestrians walking on motorways – and police would only deal with an on going crime or fatal collision.
Chief Inspector Jessop said: “West Yorkshire Police deals with approximately 20 pedestrians walking on the motorway per week. The degree of vulnerability is subjective.”
An earlier hearing was told that the driver of the car which hit Mr Lloyd only had around a second to respond to seeing him. The car would have been travelling at 50 to 57mph and the impact threw Mr Lloyd 60metres. Mr Lloyd’s father Paul has also has criticised West Yorkshire Police for the handling of his case, telling the inquest earlier: “While time and evidence was lost, the police acted on assumptions.”
The inquest continues.