Teenagers killed in tragic crash hit standing water on road
PUBLISHED: 19:12 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:12 24 July 2018
Two teenage friends travelling together in a car were tragically killed after hitting a patch of standing water and colliding with a tree, an inquest has heard.
Zac Smith and Kye McLean, both 18, died following the single-vehicle crash on the B1115 Great Waldingfield Road, near Chilton Airfield, on August 9 last year.
The pair were travelling in a silver Vauxhall Corsa and driver Zac, of North Rise, Great Cornard, and passenger Kye, of Rockhall Road, Polstead, were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Suffolk Coroners’ Court heard today that heavy rain throughout the day of the accident had caused a build-up of standing water on the road and it was raining at the time of the incident.
As the Corsa went to overtake a Land Rover Discovery on the road going towards Great Waldingfield around 9.50pm, its off-side wheel struck a patch of surface water on the opposite side of the single carriageway.
The car spun out of control, hitting a tree on the nearside of the road, about 300 meters beyond the entrance to Chilton Airfield, the inquest heard.
There was no contact with the Land Rover and both teenagers were wearing seatbelts.
In a statement read to the court, the driver of the Land Rover said the Corsa did not appear to be going at any particular speed and the driving “was just normal”.
Toxicology tests conducted showed no drugs in Zac’s system but a small amount of alcohol – 27mg per 100ml of blood – was discovered. The legal limit is 80mg in 100ml of blood.
Pc Andrew Fossey, of Suffolk’s police’s Serious Collision Investigation Team, said it was possible that Zac had not seen the standing water in the road as he went to overtake due to the poor driving conditions.
Pc Fossey said: “It was a combination of factors. It was dark and wet and there were areas of standing water on the road.
“Mr Smith was an inexperienced driver and he may not have seen the areas of standing water or if he did he may not have been aware of how it would affect the vehicle.
“In my opinion, it was a misjudgement to overtake the vehicle in poor driving conditions.”
Nigel Parsley, Suffolk senior coroner, recorded the cause of death for both teenagers as multiple injuries as a result of the collision.
Zac was a promising young footballer – described by his coaches as a ”manager’s dream” – who had played for both AFC Sudbury and Cornard United.
In a written statement after the inquest, Zac’s family said: “Zac means the whole world to us all, mum, dad and brother.
“We are all devastated and miss him terribly. We are a close family, always have been, spending as much time together as possible with one another.
“Zac was a kind loving person, bright, bubbly, with a beautiful smile, very loving and full of fun.
“A real sportsman, he loved roller skating, cricket, fishing and tennis, but his one true love was football, especially in later years playing football by his brother’s side.
“Zac had an apprenticeship in enginneering in Halstead. He loved to help his dad with the family business, and also the local farmer, who he helped for some years carting the corn. He loved his tractors, diggers, anything with an engine, but most of all he loved helping people.
“Zac had the biggest, cheekiest smile which would instantly make you smile back. So kind, generous, loyal and polite, he was a handsome young man, who would do anything for anyone and touched the lives of so many. You couldn’t go anywhere without him saying hello to someone.
“Zac’s love, his light, his spirit will never be forgotten. Our precious son Zac loved life and lived it to its fullest every day. We love and miss you dearly Zac.”
Kye was also a keen footballer and was involved with Fellowship Football.
A match between Fellowship Football and Kye’s family and friends, which was played at AFC Sudbury on January 13, and followed by an auction and a raffle raised nearly £5,000 for charity.
In a statement read during the inquest, Kye’s family said: “Kye was hardworking and loved by everyone who knew him.
“He was a keen footballer and played Fellowship Football every Saturday.
“He had a lot of respect for other people and was very grown up. Life will never be the same without Kye in our lives.”
A fundraising page set up also raised more than £3,500 to help with Kye’s funeral costs.
A statement on the GoFundMe page, set up by Laura Pritchard, said: “On August 9, 2017, we tragically lost a very dear friend Kye McLean.
“He was an awesome guy always happy to help anybody, kind, gentle and gave the best hugs. He was taken far too young he truly was an amazing friend, brother, cousin, nephew, grandson and son.
“Kye McLean we all love you and you have left a hole in all our hearts.”
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