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‘No evidence of police pursuit’ after four killed in horror crash, report finds

Joshua Parkes, 21, Lucy Tibbetts, 16, and Isabelle Floyd, 16, were pronounced dead at the scene in Kingswinford, West Midlands, in October last year. Nathan Cartwright, 18, later died from his injuries

Flowers left at Bromley Lane crash scene

A report has found no evidence of a police pursuit after four people were killed in a horror crash.

An investigation was launched after a collision on October 13 last year in which a yellow Skoda Fabia lost control and hit a tree in Kingswinford, West Midlands.

Driver Joshua Parkes, 21, and passengers Lucy Tibbetts, 16, and Isabelle Floyd, 16, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Another passenger, 18-year-old Nathan Cartwright, later died from his injuries, Birmingham Live reports.

A 16-year-old passenger was also injured in the incident and was taken to hospital, but has since returned home.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct found that following a check on the police national computer, police became aware that the vehicle Mr Parkes was driving was not insured.



The crash happened on October 13 last year
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Officers – who have been witnesses during the IOPC investigation – decided to stop the car but it was no longer in their sight by that point.

So, they briefly switched on their vehicle’s blue lights and then siren in order to pass another car in front of them, the watchdog said.

However, before they could catch up with the Skoda, the vehicle had crashed.

The report has found no evidence that police were in pursuit of the vehicle at any point or that they were ever directly behind the Skoda.

There was nothing to suggest any officers witnessed the collision, the IOPC said.



Lucy Tibbetts, Joshua Parkes, Isabelle Floyd and Nathan Cartwright died after the collision
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The watchdog also investigated a complaint from a relative of one of the passengers, who believed there may have been an opportunity for officers to seize the vehicle prior to the collision.

The IOPC said it found no evidence of prior police contact with Mr Parkes and no opportunity to intervene earlier.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “This was a tragic event that resulted in the deaths of four young people. Our thoughts remain with their families and all those affected.

“It is vital that incidents like this are thoroughly and independently investigated, which is what we have done.

“While it is likely the driver was aware of the police presence, the evidence does not suggest that the actions of police contributed to what happened that day.



Flowers left at the scene of the crash
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“As well as providing independent scrutiny of what happened, our investigation has also helped to inform today’s inquest proceedings and, I hope, provide some answers to the families’ questions about the crash.”

Inquests into the deaths of the four people involved found the cause of death for the three passengers to be a road traffic collision.

In relation to the driver, a verdict of misadventure was recorded.

During the inquest, the Black Country Coroner’s Court heard the vehicle was being driven at three times the 30pmh speed limit when it ploughed through a lamppost and hit the tree after earlier being driven “voluntarily” on the wrong side of the road.

On August 26, the court heard construction shed builder Mr Parkes had answered his phone to a friend just seconds before the crash.

The speed of the collision, after “heavy braking”, was later calculated at 43mph.



A watchdog has found no evidence of a police chase
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Image:

BPM Media)




Black Country coroner Joanne Lees said the speed and the manner in which the car was being driven were “significant factors” in the collision.

She concluded Mr Parkes’ died of misadventure – “a deliberate act which goes wrong” – while his passengers died as a result of a road traffic collision.

The inquest heard Mr Cartwright was the only person wearing a seatbelt in the car, which was heading to Kinver, Staffordshire.

At least two of the car’s tyres were later found to be under-inflated, including the front near-side which was up to only 17PSI – possibly from an undetected slow puncture – as well as the rear off-side.

The Skoda hit a kerb, clipping a bus stop post which ripped off the rear bumper, “felling” a reinforced concrete lamppost before a “substantial” impact with the tree.







Ms Lees said: “I am quite satisfied the actions of the Skoda driver were entirely of his own choice and one can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for occupants at the point the Skoda reached speeds of 96mph and travelling on the wrong side of the road.

“I am entirely satisfied the cause of the collision were the actions of Mr Parkes, as the driver of the Skoda, and that the speed and manner in which he drove the Skoda were significant factors in the collision.”

The coroner added: “Whatever precipitated the actions of the driver of the Skoda, the Skoda was not being actively pursued or followed directly by the marked police car.”




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