North East Wales

Horseshoe Pass crash: Victims students at Coleg Llysfasi

Dale Williams (left) and Jonathan Cassidy-Jones
Image caption Dale Williams (left) and Jonathan Cassidy-Jones were both students at the same college

The three young men involved in a fatal crash at the Horseshoe Pass on Monday were students at the same college, it has emerged.

Jonathan Cassidy Jones and Dale Williams, both 18 and from the Ruabon area, died when their car left the road and hit a tree.

The injured man is believed to be Tom Pewtner.

Deeside College said staff at Coleg Llysfasi, where the men studied, were "devastated" at the "tragic deaths".

North Wales Police confirmed the Peugeot 206 in which the three men were travelling hit the tree after leaving an elevated stretch of the road near Britannia Inn.

Fire crews from Llangollen and Chirk were called to the incident at around 12:36 GMT.

The A542 road was closed for several hours while investigations were carried out and the car was recovered from the top of a grassy embankment beside the road.

Police said Mr Pewtner was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital with non-life-threatening chest injuries and remained there overnight.

In a statement Deeside College confirmed Mr Jones was a machinery student, and Mr Williams studied forestry at Coleg Llysfasi.

"They were both well liked and talented students hoping to embark on exciting careers after they had completed their courses," said the statement.

The college said its thoughts were with their family and friends.

The statement added: "Our thoughts are also with our third student Tom injured in the same accident and we are all wishing him a full and speedy recovery.

'Vibrant characters'

"We will be working closely to support our students at Coleg Llysfasi in the coming days and weeks as they come to terms with the tragic loss of their friends."

Angela Williams, headteacher of Ysgol Rhiwabon where Mr Williams and Mr Jones were educated, also expressed her sorrow.

Mrs Williams said that Dale and Jonathan were in the thoughts of staff and students, especially those in year 13 who were their classmates.

She led a special sixth form assembly in which she paid tribute to the two young men.

"I recall them very well," she said. "They were vibrant characters whom we remember with great affection."

Mrs Williams explained that the school would be contacting the families to offer everyone's condolences and to discuss appropriate ways of remembering Jonathan and Dale.

'Absolute shock'

The school would be working with all students to support them she added.

Local councillor Rhys Hughes said the incident had left the local community in "absolute shock".

Mr Hughes, a Llangollen councillor from Eglwyseg, said he was driving across the Horseshoe Pass towards Ruthin on Monday lunchtime when he saw that metal fencing beside the road had been damaged.

"Living locally I thought that's not right," he told BBC Radio Wales. "The top bar was blowing and I thought there's no wind.

"So I just went about 100 yards further up. I just couldn't leave it. I turned around and went back and that's when I realised what had happened.

"The young gentleman was coming up the bank. I stopped the car straight away and jumped out.

"I asked him if he was okay and got on the phone and dialled 999. Luckily I was able to wave another couple of cars down. Another couple came and helped."

Image caption The car left the road in a wooded area

"Everybody's thoughts are with these three families," added Mr Hughes.

Remote

The winding road along the pass is a well-known beauty spot, reaching a maximum height of 417m (1,367ft).

The remote route is often closed in wintry weather but conditions were relatively mild for the time of year when the incident happened.

It is expected that an inquest into the deaths will open shortly.

Police have appealed to anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have information to contact Pc 450 Aled Jackson at the roads policing unit on 101 (if in Wales) or 0300 3300 101.

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