Three families mourn crash victims

By Roddy Ashworth and James HoreTHE families of three young people who were killed in two horrific car crashes paid tribute last night to their loved ones.

By Roddy Ashworth and James Hore

THE families of three young people who were killed in two horrific car crashes paid tribute last night to their loved ones.

Sarah Johnson and Richard Ellis, both 20, died when the car they were in crashed through a central reservation and overturned in Chelmsford.

Paul Coleman, 17, was killed when the car he was in overturned and ploughed into a field in Boxted.

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Miss Johnston, of St Nazaire Road, Chelmsford, was a popular young woman who attended the town's St John Payne Roman Catholic School.

She later studied at Chelmsford College for a diploma and an NVQ in childcare and had hopes of becoming a nanny.

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Miss Johnson, who lived with her mother and 27-year-old brother Darren, died when the Ford Fiesta she was driving went out of control on the A1114 in Chelmsford on Sunday.

Her family said following the death of her father Mick two years ago, Miss Johnson had found happiness with her boyfriend Steve and her large group of friends.

Miss Johnson's mother, Barbara, said last night: “Sarah enjoyed karaoke and could often be heard belting out Diana Ross' Chain Reaction - one of her favourite songs.

“Sarah's rendition of Leanne Rimes's How Can I Live Without You could also reduce a room to tears.”

She added Sarah's death had come as a huge shock to her family and friends, who hoped to have solace in their memories of her.

Richard Ellis, also of St Nazaire Road, was a passenger in the Ford Fiesta and had been fighting for his life in Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, but died later on Sunday evening.

His 19-year old fiancée, Claire Castle, who had been the front-seat passenger in the Fiesta and suffered broken limbs in the crash, was discharged from hospital last night.

Mr Ellis's distraught mother, Maria, said: “Claire will miss him so much - as will all who knew him.”

A roofer who lived with his mother and two brothers, Trevor and Aaron, Mr Ellis had grown up in Chelmsford.

He had attended the town's Melbourne Primary School and then Rainsford High School, where he played football in the school team.

Mr Ellis had also played for Broomfield Football Club - starting in the youth team at the age of eight, and then continuing into the seniors - in both the Saturday and Sunday Leagues.

He had had trials for Ipswich Town and enjoyed playing snooker at Q-Ball in Chelmsford.

Keen sportsman Paul Coleman, 17, of Broad Oaks Park, Colchester, was killed when the car he was a passenger in overturned and ploughed into a field at about 9.35pm on Monday in Straight Road in Boxted.

The teenager, who played cricket for Boxted Firsts and football for both the Royal London youth and senior teams, was taken by ambulance to Colchester General Hospital, but later died from serious head injuries.

The 18-year-old driver of the car, who comes from the Colchester area, was also admitted to hospital and received treatment for minor injuries.

He was later arrested by Essex Police for causing death by dangerous driving and released on bail pending further inquiries.

Paul's father, Phil, said his son was always keen to take on new challenges and would be sorely missed.

He lived with his mother and his sister Lauren, nine, and brothers Billy, 13 and Tony, 18.

“He was always keen to try everything. He was totally fearless, whether it was a bungee jump or a balloon trip. We're all devastated. There is not much else I can say. We are totally heartbroken,” said Mr Coleman.

Paul, who had worked for a bank in the City since May, had played more than 300 games as centre-half with the Royal London youth side since he joined at the age of seven and played in goal for the seniors.

The former pupil of the Gilberd School in Colchester had also refereed for youth football teams and had been successful at both rugby and judo.

Gilberd School assistant headteacher, Mike Arnott, said: “We were very sorry to hear of Paul's death.

“He was a colourful character, bright and always full of life. He attended the school for five years and had many friends here.

“His elder brother also attended the Gilberd and his younger brother is still a student here. Our sympathy goes out to his family at this distressing time.”

Anyone with information about the Boxted crash should contact Stanway traffic police on 01206 762512.

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