A 23-YEAR-OLD man died when he lost control of his car causing it to hit a kerb and overturn.

Warren Lee Roberts, of Star Lane, Lymm, died in Warrington Hospital on February 8 this year after his car left the road on a straight section of the B5157 Lymm Road in Thelwall.

At an inquest into the death held at Warrington Coroner's Court, Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg read a statement from firefighter Christopher Haste who attended the scene.

In it, Mr Haste said that when he arrived at the accident, Mr Roberts was clutching an open zippo cigarette lighter in his hand.

Warren's mum, Tracey Brady, confirmed that her son was a smoker.

Former workmate and friend Lee Cottrell told the inquest that on the day of his death Mr Roberts, a skilled labourer who had been driving for 11 months, had given him a lift home.

He said that the pair had stopped off at a pub where Warren had one pint of lager before driving around Warrington town centre, eventually dropping him off at home at around 8.25pm.

A toxicology report showed that Mr Roberts was slightly over the drink drive limit at the time of the accident.

But Mr Rheinberg attributed this to drinking on an empty stomach after Mr Cottrell told the inquest that a number of hours had passed since Mr Roberts had last eaten.

PC Guy Hopley from Cheshire Police collision investigation department said: "Mr Roberts was travelling on a straight section of the road and had just passed the bend so there is no explanation for him veering right."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Rheinberg said: "We have speculated as to the possible cause; if he was distracted because he was lighting a cigarette and the lighter clue does support this but it is equally possible that a rabbit or some other animal suddenly jumped out in front of the car.

"If he only had one hand on the steering wheel it might explain why he wasn't able to control the car."