A LORRY test driver killed in a horror crash may not have known he was driving a load with an unusually high centre of gravity, an inquest heard.

Gurdip Johal died after the articulated vehicle he was driving fell through a safety barrier Coleman’s Bridge in Witham down an embankment and onto the A12 below in February.

Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard Mr Johal, 30, had taken the vehicle carrying an uninterrupted power supply from Harris Truck and Van in Wheaton Road, Witham, down the A12 to Kelvedon and back on a route he travelled daily to warm up the brakes before the firm carried out a pre-MOT test.

The cab was likely to have been stacked almost to the top with battery cells giving it an unusually high centre of gravity, and it was not common practice for Mr Johal to know what he was driving as the vehicles usually arrive empty.

The lorry had been dropped off for testing by DDGC Ltd.

Service manager at Harris Truck and Van Clinton Fitt said Mr Johal may not have known the vehicle was carrying an unusual load and he would have been unable to check because it would have been padlocked.

He said: “It is not part of the practice to ask but most arrive empty.”

Mr Fitt said Mr Johal would have been familiar with the route and driven it at least once per day in the 18 months he had been working at the firm.

PC David Howard told Essex Coroner’s Court the accident happened as a result of the high centre of gravity, the fact the vehicle was moving, the road camber and the bend in the road.

He said: “There were multiple contributory faults to the incident.

“All the possible factors coming together at this one point which contributed to this outcome.

“This point was the first significant bend he would have encountered on the route.”

As part of his investigation, PC Howard inspected a lorry filled with a similar load.

He said: “I was surprised at the height of the battery systems.”

A toxicology report showed Mr Johal had no drugs or alcohol in his system. He died of haemorrhages from multiple injuries.

Mr Johal, of Humber Road, Witham, was ejected from the vehicle as a result of the incident and it is unclear as to whether he was wearing a seatbelt, however the court heard it would been unlikely to have helped him given the severity of the incident.

The road was shut for a day as investigations too place.

Senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray gave the verdict as an accident and expressed sympathy to Mr Johal’s family and described the incident as dynamic with various factors.

She said: “It was a tragic accident and I would like to express sympathy to Mr Johal’s wife and all the other family members who have been at the inquest.

“He was clearly a much loved family member.

“I hope you will remember the happy memories you have together.”

Wife Mandy Johal said: “Losing Gurdip has been extremely difficult.

“It was a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from and is hugely missed.

“He was such a caring and loving husband and special man.”