Politeness found as cause of Jimi Heseldon’s tragic accident

UK newspaper Mirror has reported the Coroner has released a final report on the tragic death of Jimi Heseldon, the late owner of Segway, Inc. (these excerpts have been corrected for fact):

A BUSINESSMAN’S good manners led to his death as he fell 42ft from a clifftop on his Segway, an inquest heard yesterday.

Jimi Heselden, 62, got into trouble as he reversed the scooter on a steep incline for dog walker Sean Christie to get past. But the tycoon – who was a part-owner of the UK Distributorship for Segways prior to purchasing the US-based company itself – wobbled then disappeared. Mr Christie found him face down and lifeless in the river below.

Coroner David Hinchliff said yesterday: “I think it’s probable – I think typical of Jimi and the type of man he was – he held back and waited as an act of courtesy to allow Mr Christie more room.

“In so doing, he’s attempted to reverse the Segway back. As a result of that he’s got into difficulty.”

Jimi had been riding a Segway x2 along a trail near his home by the River Wharfe, Boston Spa, West Yorks, last September. The Mirror goes on to say:

Mr Christie said he saw the businessman from 40ft to 50ft away as he moved a short distance backwards in a movement he assumed was to make room for him to pass. Mr Heselden was only a metre and a half from the 42ft drop and tree branches may have contributed to his loss of control, Leeds coroner’s court heard.

A postmortem found multiple injuries to his chest and spine. Experts found no fault with the Segway. West Yorkshire coroner Mr Hinchliff recorded a verdict of accidental death. Mr Heselden – worth an estimated £166million – was a philanthropist and owner of Hesco Bastion, which builds containers to protect troops. Camp Bastion in Afghanistan is named after his firm.

Former miner Mr Heselden was given an OBE for his services to the defence industry and gave more than £20million to charity.

Just prior to his death Jimi had arranged to donate 1,000 Segway PTs to Segs4Vets, a US charity that gives PTs to injured and disabled veterans of American overseas wars on their return home. The Segway PT has been widely adopted as the mobility device of choice by people with a very wide range of mobility impairments. Unlike mobility scooters and power chairs, Segway PT users get to remain standing, healthy and strong, look the world in the eye, and they can take the compact and light PT with them just about anywhere they want to go.

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