Taxi customers described a journey as “pure hell” and made a complaint about their driver just hours before he ploughed head-on into a Mansfield motorcyclist and killed him, an inquest was told.
Mark Buckley, 34, died when a taxi smashed into his Yamaha 125cc bike on the A611 Derby Road in the early hours of the morning.
Kevin Wiesztort is thought to have fallen asleep and his Fiat Doblo careered into the path of the bike ridden by the father-of-three who had been heading to work in Annesley.
However, the inquest into the death of Mr Buckley, held at Nottingham Coroner’s Court today, heard that a couple who had used the taxi in the hours before had even phoned the cab operators, Aaeron Cars in Mansfield, to complain about him.
Wiesztort had taken the pair, who are from the Mansfield area, to Birmingham Airport where they quickly rang the company.
Statements taken by David and Michelle Newton were read out at the inquest and had described his driving as “erratic”.
They said his speed fluctuated, he was fidgety and weaving in and out of lanes on the motorway, even crossing the rumble strips at one point.
The couple suspected he had either been drinking or was on drugs, and told the cab company that they did not want him picking them up when they returned from holiday.
Mrs Newton said: “I could not get out of that taxi fast enough. I told him he was not fit to drive and a danger.
“He had no right to be behind the wheel.”
The inquest was told how the cab radio operator, Stephanie Dudley, had taken the call from the angry passengers and she had contacted Wiesztort shortly after he had dropped them off.
He had stopped off at a garage to get an energy drink before heading back to the Mansfield area, but assured her he was fine.
Coroner for Nottinghamshire, Mairin Casey, asked Stephanie Dudley if the police had been contacted over his driving, to which she said they hadn’t.
Following the fatal smash, Wiesztort, 36, was found to have no alcohol or drugs in his system, but said he only had nine hours sleep in the three days previous to the accident which happened at around 5.30am on Sunday, March 30, 2014.
Wiesztort said he had no recollection of the incident, which happened near to Notts Golf Club.
Forensics suggested the taxi had veered completely over to the wrong side of the road, while conditions were described as being “extremely foggy”.
For his part, Wiesztort was jailed in February, 2015, for 45 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.
Earlier in today’s proceedings, Mr Buckley’s partner of seven years, Rachael Price, read out two heartfelt statements.
She said: “I would like to say it’s got easier, however, it hasn’t.
“In fact, at times, things have got much harder.
“We put our trust in taxi driver and expect certain standards to be in place.”
She told the coroner that she wanted to know what happened to the complaint made by the couple in the hours before her partner’s death and if any policies were put in place to prevent drivers from taking to the road if they were unfit through drink, drugs or even tiredness.
The inquest is expected to be completed tomorrow, Tuesday, October 25.