Ely City FC Stalwart May Have Had Heart Attack At Wheel

Investigators for Cambridgeshire police said they couldn’t rule out that Douglas Cranwell had suffered a heart attack at the wheel after examination of the crash scene showed no signs of braking.

lAN Ely City stalwart who died after his car left the road and crashed into a garden in Chatteris may have been suffering with heart problems, an inquest heard.

Investigators for Cambridgeshire police said they couldn’t rule out that Douglas Cranwell had suffered a heart attack at the wheel after examination of the crash scene showed no signs of braking or evidence of other vehicle involved in the collision on the A142 Ireton’s Way in September last year.

At an inquest into the 83-year-old’s death held in March on Friday, Pc Francis Crawford, collision investigator for Cambridgeshire police, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that any other vehicle was involved in the collision, therefore I cannot rule out the possibility of a medical condition that caused an involuntary action from the driver.”

Mr Cranwell was known affectionately as ‘Mr Dedication’ by friends at Ely City Football Club where he volunteered his time for almost 70 years.

Born in Ely in 1927, the 83-year-old joined the Robins when he was 16 and carried out most jobs including player, secretary and president before becoming life vice-president in 2003.

Mr Cranwell ran the turnstile for the club and was also a member of the committee, helping to oversee the running of the club for decades. As a mark of respect to Mr Cranwell, The Robins held a minute’s silence and dedicated their game against Kirkley and Pakefield to him.

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Dr Mark Arends, consultant pathologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, also said that it was possible a heart attack may have caused Mr Cranwell to loose control of the car: “Although there is no specific evidence that his history of heart problems caused him to lose control it is possible that it lead to a loss of consciousness and therefore control of the vehicle, although that is speculation.”

The collision occurred at about 3pm on Sunday, September 26, with Mr Cranwell’s Ford Focus crashing into garden fencing after leaving the busy A142, close to the junction with Wenny Road. Pc Matthew Davis, who was off-duty watching a football match nearby, was one of the first on the scene and told coroner William Morris that the car had ended up overhanging a water-filled ditch with smoke pouring from the bonnet. Mr Cranwell was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital but died from injuries two days later. The coroner ruled that Mr Cranwell died from multiple traumatic injuries and recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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