A young father was killed in a horror crash as he sped to rescue his fiancée after she was attacked by a nightclub thug, an inquest has heard.
Geoffrey Firkins, 21, died when his Vauxhall Corsa was involved in a three vehicle pile-up in the early hours of February 7 last year.
Minutes earlier he received a distressing call from fiancée Katie Evans, 21, telling him she had been assaulted on a night-out with pals.
An inquest heard Mr Firkins, from Chell Heath, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., was so concerned about Miss Evans he forgot to put his seat belt on as he drove to collect her from nearby Hanley.
As he desperately tried to reach his fiancee, he overtook a Peugeot 206 and clipped the car causing his vehicle to slide into a lorry travelling in the opposite direction.
North Staffordshire Coroners Court heard he crashed on the A53 in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., and despite being rushed to hospital he died of multiple injuries an hour later.
His devastated grandfather, also called Geoffrey Firkins, told the inquest: “From speaking to the officers and learning about his injuries, I know that if Geoffrey had been wearing his seat belt he would still be with us.
“I always made sure his car was road-worthy, but it seems to be the done thing among young people to not wear your seat belt.
“The police never seem to do anything about it.
“It’s too late for Geoffrey now, but I want to prevent this happening to someone else.”
Lorry driver Russell Laithwaite said he saw the Astra travel down the wrong side of bollards to overtake the Peugeot.
Crash investigators found that the two cars collided just before Mr Firkins lost control of the Astra and crashed into the lorry.
The Astra then bounced back into the Peugeot, with both vehicles sustaining further damage.
Witness Martin Banks told the inquest: “I saw the wagon coming up the road.
“The car hit the lorry, came up off the floor, then came to rest.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, North Staffordshire Deputy Coroner Anthony Curzon said: “Whether wearing a seat belt would have made a difference or not, it was a contributory factor.”
Mr Firkins, a factory worker, had been with Miss Evans for three years and the couple had a son, two-and-a-half-year-old Cody-Jay together. The couple had planned to marry this year.
Speaking at his funeral, Miss Evans said:
“When I first saw Geoff I absolutely hated him and I told him so, but a week after, we fell in love.
“I found out I was pregnant not long after we had been together and on my 18th birthday, he proposed to me.
“Cody-Jay was born on August 30, 2010 and Geoff grew up and became a man and an excellent daddy to our beautiful son.
“Our child is the double of Geoff and he takes after his dad when it comes to looks and attitude, because he can be so stubborn at times, just like Geoff was.
“I will make sure he knows every little thing about you and what a good man you were.
“If I wrote down all the good times we had and all the good you did for everybody, I would be here forever.”