Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Soldier arrested after two teenage runners fatally hit by car

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Media captionAldershot, Farnham and District Athletic Club said it was "devastated to lose such amazing, talented athletes"

A serving soldier was arrested on suspicion of drink driving after two teenage girls died after being struck by a car while out running.

The crash happened on Queen's Avenue in Aldershot, Hampshire, just after 19:10 GMT on Tuesday. Police said the girls were hit by a black Ford Focus.

The girls were named as 16-year-old Stacey Burrows, from Farnborough, and 17-year-old Lucy Pygott.

Police said the 24-year-old suspect was released on bail until February.

Image caption The crash happened in Queen's Avenue near Aldershot Military Stadium shortly after 19:10 GMT on Tuesday

In a statement, Lucy's family said she was "an absolute joy to us and we feel lucky that she has been part of our family for 17 years".

The teenagers were members of Aldershot, Farnham and District Athletic Club (AFD).

Lucy was this year's England Under-20 3,000m champion and European Youth Championships bronze medallist.

Stacey was the Hampshire Under-17 3,000m champion.

Their most recent successes came at the Saucony English Cross Country Relay Championships in Mansfield on Saturday.

Officers said the man arrested was held on suspicion of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of careless driving while unfit through drink or drugs.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokeswoman confirmed a fatal collision occurred in the "Aldershot Garrison" and that a soldier was held by Hampshire Police.

She added: "It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

Image caption Police officers carried out investigations at the scene in Queen's Avenue

AFD team-mates who visited the crash scene to leave flowers said the girls were long-distance cross-country runners and were doing a warm-up run at the start of their training session.

Hannah Jacobs, 18, said: "They were very committed and motivated athletes, it's so tragic what has happened."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Floral tributes have been left at the scene

Tributes were paid from the world of athletics.

Niels de Vos, chief executive of UK Athletics, said: "All at UK Athletics send our deepest sympathies, this is a tragedy which will be felt across the athletics community."

Dozens of tributes were also been left on social networking websites.

European Championship bronze medal winner Steph Twell wrote on Twitter: "Start each day with a grateful heart. Saddened by such tragic news at AFD last night. My love goes out to the girls' families and community."

Image copyright Twitter

Also writing on Twitter, Olympian Eilish Mccolgan said: "Awful news coming from Aldershot this morning. Thoughts go out to family, friends and fellow team-mates at AFD."

Simon Jarvis, principal of Farnborough Sixth Form College, confirmed the two girls were students there. He said counsellors had been brought in to support pupils and staff and books of remembrance and condolence were being opened.

Specialist officers are providing support to the teenagers' families.

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