Dudley: Young driver who killed four was speeding at 96mph before crash

Four of the five who were travelling in the car died (Picture: PA/West Midlands Police)

Four young friends were killed when the car they were travelling in hit a tree after reaching speeds of up to 96 mph.

Joshua Parkes, 21, had been driving on the wrong side of the road with under-inflated tyres and only a provisional licence before the crash in October last year.

Mr Parkes lost control of his yellow Skoda before hitting a kerb, clipping a bus stop post and felling a concrete lamppost. He then ploughed into the tree in Dudley, West Midlands.

The construction shed builder, who had answered his phone seconds before the crash, suffered fatal injuries.

Three of his passengers; Nathan Cartwright, 18, Lucy Tibbetts, 16, and Isabelle Floyd, also 16, all either died at the scene or later in hospital.

A fifth passenger, a girl, was left with serious injuries but survived.

In tributes read to court, powder-coating worker Mr Cartwright was described as ‘sensitive and kind-hearted’ with a ‘cheeky smile and an infectious laugh’ whose life was ‘cruelly snatched away’.

Ms Tibbetts, one of five siblings and originally from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, had overcome ‘relentless bullying’ to take up an apprenticeship, and ‘had found a happy place to be in life’ before the crash.

Driver Joshua Parkes suffered fatal injuries in the crash
Nathan Cartwright was described as ‘sensitive and kind-hearted’ with a ‘cheeky smile and an infectious laugh’

Ms Floyd, known as Izzie, had ‘the most infectious personality’ and as a keen dancer had left behind ‘some amazing TikTok videos to cherish forever’ before she was ‘so cruelly taken’.

Black Country Coroner’s Court heard Mr Parkes was driving at more than three times the 30 mph limit along Bromley Lane.

He took a bend ‘following the racing line’ which meant he ended up on the wrong side of the road.

Collision investigator Andrew Salt said Mr Parkes had to swerve to avoid an oncoming car and ‘and it was that, that precipitated the loss of control (of the car)’.

Isabelle Floyd had ‘the most infectious personality’
Lucy Tibbetts, 16, had overcome ‘relentless bullying’ to take up an apprenticeship (Picture: PA)

Clarifying the point, Mr Salt added: ‘The Skoda could not have got around the bend at the speed it was travelling at, using the correct side of the carriageway.’

He added that as Mr Parkes negotiated the bend after that near-miss, his ‘interpretation is the driver felt he was going to strike the near-side kerb, approaching very quickly indeed and basically steered very abruptly to the right’.

By the time the car hit the tree it was probably going at 43 mph due to ‘heavy breaking.’

The inquest heard Mr Cartwright had been the only person wearing a seatbelt in the car, which was heading to Kinver, Staffordshire.

Friends and family gathered at the site of the crash to pay tribute last year (Picture: PA)

However, Mr Salt said that seatbelts would ‘not necessarily ensure survivability’.

A police patrol had seen the Skoda a few minutes before the deadly crash at just before 9pm on October 13, the inquest heard.

Officers suspected Mr Parkes did not have insurance but lost sight of his car almost immediately.

Coroner Joanne Lees concluded Mr Parkes’ died of misadventure – ‘a deliberate act which goes wrong’ – while his the passengers’ died as a result of a road traffic collision.

Ms Lees said: ‘I am quite satisfied the actions of the Skoda driver were entirely of his own choice and one can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for occupants at the point the Skoda reached speeds of 96mph and travelling on the wrong side of the road.

The community were left devastated by the crash (Picture: PA)

‘I am entirely satisfied the cause of the collision were the actions of Mr Parkes, as the driver of the Skoda, and that the speed and manner in which he drove the Skoda were significant factors in the collision.’

The low pressure of the car’s tyres, possibly caused by a slow puncture, was found to be ‘a contributory factor’ to the crash.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) carried out an investigation, because of the police’s presence prior to the collision.

In its report, the IOPC concluded it was ‘not in receipt of any evidence the police may have caused or contributed to the deaths’ of those in the car.

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