A MAN had been facing financial ruin when he veered head-on into an articulated lorry and died in a 122mph crash, an inquest heard yesterday.

Debt-ridden Jacek Ordak was killed instantly in the “terrible” collision which left his Vauxhall Signum car blazing by the side of the York ring road.

Passing motorists rushed to help with blankets and a fire extinguisher, but the 41-year-old book-binder died in the wreckage from multiple injuries.

The hearing was told Mr Ordak, of Nunroyd Lawn, Leeds, had debts of more than £10,000 and had been visited by bailiffs over unpaid council tax.

Despite making large sums by secretly sub-letting rooms to fellow Polish workers, he faced a showdown with his landlord that evening over rent arrears.

He had signed the Vauxhall over to the landlord. The HSBC bank had also called in a £9,563 loan after Ordak defaulted, York Coroner Donald Coverdale was told.

When Mr Ordak did not keep the appointment on September 20 last year, the landlord found out about the sub-letting, the inquest at News Earswick Folk Hall heard. Shortly after 8pm the same evening Tesco HGV driver Martin Staunton, from Doncaster, was heading home on the A1237 after a delivery at Clifton Moor.

Suddenly, the only car coming the other way on the single carriageway veered on to his path. He told the hearing: “It seemed to me as if he did it deliberately.” The Vauxhall spun on to the other side of the single carriageway.

Mr Staunton tried to get out of his driver’s door, but it was too badly damaged. “I kicked the driver’s door open and got out as the car caught alight.”

Amanda Potter, of Wetherby Road, York, driving behind the Mercedes lorry, said: “I heard a loud bang and a puff of smoke. The windows were up and the stereo was on but the noise was so bad – like something out of a film.

"There was an explosion and I saw the car spinning over the road on to the verge. When the car stopped I could see flames coming out of the front. Three cars stopped and the people got out and started running towards the verge.”

Accident investigator TC Dave Foster said Mr Ordak’s foot was still pressing hard on the accelerator at the time of the crash and he was not wearing his seatbelt.

He was travelling at 80mph on the 60mph road when he hit the lorry, which was travelling at 44mph, he said.

He said: “I do not believe the crash was an accident. Having eliminated other causes it cannot be ruled out this was a deliberate act by Mr Ordak.”

Mr Coverdale said although Mr Ordak had money problems he was also planning a family with his new girlfriend in Bath. Recording an open verdict, he had considered suicide, but said Mr Ordak may have dozed off at the wheel.