Police release video of last moments of fatal crash in bid to influence young people

12.00 | 13 October 2015 | | 5 comments

The families of two young men who lost their lives in a crash in April this year have supported the release of a video which captured their last moments as they sped to their deaths.

Driver Kyle Careford, 20, and Michael Owen, 21, both died instantly when the red Renault Clio they were in crashed into a church wall in the early hours of 12 April. Michael had been videoing their journey as they sped at up to 90mph through the Sussex countryside.

The video was shown at the inquest into their deaths on 6 October and the families hope that other young drivers will take notice of the perils of driving irresponsibly.

The inquest heard how the two friends had both taken a cocktail of prescribed and illegal drugs that would have resulted in severe toxicity and have had a severely detrimental effect on Kyle’s ability to control the car. This was compounded by his inexperience – he did not have a licence and was uninsured to drive the car, which was owned by Michael.

On the video, the pair can be seen and heard laughing, chatting and singing as Michael appears to be giving Kyle a driving lesson. The car, travelling well in excess of the 30mph speed limit, careered off the B2100, smashing through a wall into the grounds of St Michael and All Saints church.

Michael’s mother, Kat, said: “We bring our children up teaching them right from wrong. We guide them and give them our advice and hope they listen, but once they are adults we hope they make the right choices.

"I really don’t know why the boys chose to do what they did, but I blame them both for the decisions they made on this night.

"If all this stops one person from making the same mistake, then some good has come from showing this video. I’m hoping it will have an impact on young people and make them see that a bit of fun can have such devastating consequences.

"I would like all the young people out there to take notice and realise that you are not invincible and take seriously how precious your lives are to yourselves and others. I want young drivers to consider how much devastation it causes to the families and loved ones that are left behind.”

Chief inspector Phil Nicholas, Surrey and Sussex road policing unit, said: "I cannot overstate the courage of both families in working with us to release this video and to add their words and thoughts about it.

“Sadly, my officers have to deal with the aftermath of fatal collisions on an all too regular basis, but the loss of two young lives in this incident in such circumstances is in equal measure shocking and frustrating.”


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    Such behaviour and its consequences would be a thing of the past with driverless cars. I’m not a huge fan of the idea, but you can’t argue against them in these scenarios – and lots of others if we’re being honest. Or as a half-way house measure, in-built technology which would automatically intervene if it senses a vehicle is being driven wildly. i.e. limp-home mode.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Seat belt wearing may be simply down to force of habit, and one which may have aided their feeling of invulnerability. Despite the passenger repeatedly saying “slow down”, the Play Station mode was full on. The senses drugged from reality.

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Many contributory factors appear to have been involved: drugs, inattention, speeding, inexperience and probably loss of control but what policies should be considered? It seems unlikely that lowering the speed limit, even to 20mph, traffic calming, speed cameras etc would have prevented it but there is one policy that might have – Police in a marked traffic car. Would the resources spent on other road safety policies have been better spent on keeping traffic Police at full strength? If only there were some evidence that could inform us. Duncan makes an interesting observation. Why did they put their seat belts on, it certainly wasn’t because they were afraid of being prosecuted for no seat-belt?

    It is very brave of the relatives to allow the video to be made public and I do hope that that decision means that others will not have to suffer the same tragedy.

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    They may well have been breaking every rule in the book and out of their tiny minds on drugs, but they were wearing their seatbelts! Can one of the behaviourists here explain that one for me?

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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    I’m not sure of the value of this sort of thing. If the two occupants had, immediately prior to their journey, been shown an identical video – either a real incident or a mock-up – I’m not convinced it would necessarily have caused them to alter their behaviour anyway.

    Also, I wonder how the families would have felt if the two occupants had survived unscathed but instead had killed two innocent pedestrians or cyclists (in the wrong place at the wrong time). Would they still have wanted the video of their sons’ behaviour to be released for all to see, ‘in the interests of preventing a similar incident’, I wonder? i.e. exactly the same irresponsible behaviour, but tragic consequences for others instead. (Hope that’s not too cynical.)

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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