Kingswinford: Car reached 96mph before crash that killed four

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(L-R) Nathan Cartwright, Joshua Parkes, Isabelle Floyd, Lucy TibbettsImage source, Family handout
Image caption,
(L-R) Nathan Cartwright, Joshua Parkes, Isabelle Floyd and Lucy Tibbetts all died in the crash in October

A car involved in a crash which claimed the lives of four people reached speeds of up to 96mph (154km/h) before it hit a tree, an inquest has heard.

The Skoda Fabia, driven by Joshua Parkes, 21, had caught the interest of a police patrol a few minutes before the crash in Dudley on 13 October.

Mr Parkes and his passengers Nathan Cartwright, 18, Lucy Tibbetts and Isabelle Floyd, both 16, all died.

The coroner recorded Mr Parkes' death as a result of misadventure.

Officers lost sight of the vehicle as it sped along Bromley Lane, Kingswinford at about 21:00 BST at more than three times the 30mph limit.

Uninsured Mr Parkes then lost control, the inquest heard, ploughing through a lamppost and hitting a tree.

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

Construction shed builder Mr Parkes, a provisional licence holder who only seconds before the events leading up to crash had answered his phone to a friend, suffered fatal injuries.

His passengers all either died at the scene or later in hospital. A fifth passenger, a girl, was left with serious injuries but survived, the inquest was told.

In tributes read to court, powder-coating worker Mr Cartwright was described as "sensitive and kind-hearted", while Ms Tibbetts, one of five siblings and originally from Kidderminster, had overcome "relentless bullying" to take up an apprenticeship, and "had found a happy place to be in life".

Ms Floyd, known as Izzie, had "the most infectious personality" and as a keen dancer had left behind "some amazing TikTok videos to cherish forever".

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Flowers and balloons were left as tributes at the scene of the crash

West Midlands Police senior collision investigator Andrew Salt told coroner Joanne Lees: "The primary cause of the collision was the speed at which Joshua Parkes deliberately chose to drive along Bromley Lane."

Mr Salt, with 24 years' experience, said at one point Mr Parkes, on the wrong side of the road, had to steer back on to the correct side of the road to avoid an oncoming car, "and it was that, that precipitated the loss of control [of the car]".

'Terrifying for occupants'

At least two of the car's tyres were found to be under-inflated and Mr Salt said it was his opinion that low tyre pressures were "a contributory factor" to the crash.

The coroner concluded Mr Parkes died of misadventure, while the passengers died as a result of a road traffic collision.

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."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The occupants of the car all either died at the scene or later in hospital

The inquest heard the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) carried out an investigation, because of the police's presence prior to the collision.

In its report, the IOPC concluded it was "not in receipt of any evidence the police may have caused or contributed to the deaths" of those in the car.

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