A CRADLEY HEATH father-of-three who was the "life and soul of the party" died when the van he was driving crashed with a bus - an inquest has heard.

Bret Dance's Mercedes Sprinter van swerved into the path of an oncoming bus in Dudley Road, Rowley Regis, at around 5pm on November 7, 2019.

The inquest at Black Country Coroner's Court in Oldbury today (Wednesday June 3) heard that there was no evidence as to why Bret's van swerved into the oncoming carriageway, as a police investigation confirmed there were no defects with the road surface or his van and that the road was damp and visibility was clear.

The court was told Bret, of Wrights Lane, died at the scene of the crash, on a bend near the Cock Inn.

A post mortem showed that the 36-year-old groundworker had cannabis and Diazepan in his blood stream.

It also showed he had suffered internal injuries and blood loss, but that his injuries from the "low-impact" crash would not have proved fatal on their own, but combined with the toxic effects of cannabis on his heart, which was enlarged, led to his death.

Black Country area coroner Joanne Lees said she could not comment on whether the cannabis had any effect on Bret's driving.

She listed a short narrative verdict that the cause of death was sudden cardiac death caused by the toxic effects of cannabis on the heart and blood loss as the result of a road traffic collision.

Police had watched CCTV footage of the crash on the 30mph road.

The inquest heard a statement from a passenger on the bus who said he saw a white van swerve into the path of the West Midlands Travel single-decker. He said the driver tried to steer towards the kerb and braked, but couldn't avoid the crash.

Bret's mum told the inquest he left three children who are now aged 13, five and one.

She paid tribute to her son saying: "He loved life.

"He was the life and soul of the party.

"He was very loved and is sadly missed by family and friends and his children and partner."

Wellwishers raised more than £4k for Mr Dance's family after his death when a Justgiving appeal was set up.

It smashed its £1.5k target to help his three children.