Family's tribute to crash victim

By Sharon AsplinA GRIEVING family has paid tribute to a sporty teenager who was killed after being thrown from a car in an horrific crash.Natalie Sams, who had been picked to train for the England under-21s netball team, died when the car in which she was travelling crossed a central reservation and collided with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.

By Sharon Asplin

A GRIEVING family has paid tribute to a sporty teenager who was killed after being thrown from a car in an horrific crash.

Natalie Sams, who had been picked to train for the England under-21s netball team, died when the car in which she was travelling crossed a central reservation and collided with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.

The 17-year-old from Chelmsford, who was a front seat passenger in a green Peugeot 306, suffered serious head injuries and was declared dead at the scene.

Two other people were airlifted to hospital after the crash, which happened on the A130 at Rawreth, near Rayleigh, on Saturday.

Paying tribute yesterday, her family described Natalie, known to everyone as "Nat", as a person who "loved life".

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She lived with her mum, Carol Sams, and 20-year-old sister, Katy, and had a 19-year-old boyfriend, Alan Downs.

After attending Boswells School in Chelmsford, she achieved 10 GCSEs and had been due to start a BTech national diploma in IT at Braintree College next month.

Her family said: "Her ambition was to go into the computer business and become rich, like her uncle. She was sometimes brash and very sporty – always in dance productions and involved in PE at school."

They added Natalie loved people, would do anything for her family and friends and always kept in close contact with them.

Natalie loved all types of sport and socialising with her friends. She had played netball since year five at school and played centre for Chelmsford Crystals Netball Club, but left to concentrate on her GCSEs.

She had been named player of the year for her netball several times, played for the Essex county team and had been picked to train for the England under-21s netball team. She had also won various trophies for different sports.

The teenager had lived in Chelmsford all her life and worked part-time in the town's Sainsbury's store.

She liked a variety of music and mainly watched films on DVD as well as watching soaps, such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street, on television.

Mrs Sams said she and her family thanked everybody for their kind words and support at this "difficult and tragic time".

Essex Police said they were still appealing for witnesses to the crash, which happened at 5.40pm between the Peugeot and a blue Jaguar S-type.

The 18-year-old woman driver of the Peugeot, also from Chelmsford, was taken to hospital with head and chest injuries after being cut free from the wreckage of her car.

The 51-year-old driver of the Jaguar was also trapped and had to be cut free. He suffered head and chest injuries, which were not believed to be life-threatening. Both drivers were airlifted to hospital by air ambulance. 

Anyone with information about the crash should contact Rayleigh traffic police on 01268 775533.

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

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