A WHITBY man killed in a car crash on the A169 was “egged on” by his passengers to drive “at a speed beyond either his or the vehicle’s capabilities”, a coroner heard on Friday.
On 16 March this year Carl Roe (21), of Fountains Close, was driving with three friends towards Pickering when he lost control of the Peugeot 106 he was driving and crashed into a tree near Saltergate bank.
An inquest into Mr Roe’s death heard he had met up with John Chilton of Mulgrave View in Stainsacre, Matthew McCarthy, of Birch Crescent in Sleights, and Simon Fletcher, of Goathland, earlier that evening.
The friends had been at the Stakesby Arms and decided to head to Pickering at around 8pm.
Mr Roe was chosen as the designated driver as he had less to drink than his friends - toxicology tests confirm he was below the legal limit for alcohol in his blood - and had valid insurance on Mr Chilton’s yellow Peugeot 106.
On the approach into Sleights the car was overtaken by a black Vauxhall VXR8 and the men decided to see if they could keep up with the more powerful vehicle.
Speaking at the inquest, Mr Fletcher admitted: “Everyone probably did egg Carl on. We egged him on to see if we could keep up with the car.”
With three passengers and a less-powerful car, the Peugeot was left behind by the Vauxhall as they made their way up Blue Bank.
When they reached the top of the hill, however, the men decided to catch the other vehicle and Mr Fletcher added: “He put his foot down and we thought we would try and keep up.”
Mr McCarthy, who was sat in the rear of the vehicle, said he grew nervous and warned Mr Roe about his speed: “Just as we went through the dip over the bridge at Ellerbeck I said ‘slow it down’ because a friend of mine already crashed his car on the same bend. But I don’t know if he heard me. I wouldn’t have said it was stupidly fast, but it was quick.”
The Peugeot was able to overtake the other vehicle - who was unaware he had been pursued - but Mr Roe failed to reduce his speed.
Although the passengers could only remember various points throughout the evening, Mr McCarthy said: “I just remember going round the right hand corner and the back end looked as though it was going straight across the pub car park, but then it swung the other way up to the trees.”
Police crash investigator TC Stuart Langford attended the scene and explained how he believes the accident occurred: “In all likelihood the initial loss of control was due to this excessive speed. Mr Roe was driving a car of which he was unfamiliar and lost control while attempting to negotiate the offside bend while travelling at a speed beyond either his or the vehicle’s capabilities.
“The reaction of the driver would be to steer away. Often this is severe, causing the rear of the car to swing like a pendulum.”
The vehicle spun anticlockwise, leaving the road sideways and impacting a tree beside the driver-side wheel arch.
Mr Chilton and Mr McCarthy suffered minor injuries, while Mr Fletcher suffered a broken jaw, cheekbone, nose and bruising on the brain.
Mr Roe suffered multiple fatal injuries, including a severely fractured skull.
The coroner ruled a verdict of accidental death.