A CORONER called for teenagers to be banned from driving powerful cars after a high-speed death smash.
Wakefield coroner David Hinchliff was speaking at the end of an inquest into the death of 17-year-old Alexander Welcer.
Alexander, of Normanton, was a passenger in a 1.8l Honda Civic being driven by Grange Moor pal Sam Brunton on July 25 last year.
He died when the car smashed into a wall as they drove back to Alexander’s home after a night out in Huddersfield.
Mr Hinchliff said: “I really doubt the prudence of allowing a young man of 17 to have access to a car of the power and performance of this particular vehicle involved here.
“I would strongly recommend that newly qualified drivers should be encouraged to use vehicles of much lower power and capacity until they hone their driving skills.
“We’ve all showed off our so-called driving skills to our friends and it’s for that reason this dreadful collision occurred and that’s why Alex died.”
The inquest heard how witnesses saw the car speeding towards them down the middle of New Road, Middlestown, just before 11pm.
Andrew Messenger, a professional chauffeur, said the Honda Civic swerved to avoid hitting him.
He added: “It was going in excess of 60mph and maybe even 80mph.”
Other witnesses and a police collision investigator describe how the car then smashed into a stone wall before rebounding into the path of Gildo Piras’ Vauxhall Cavalier.
It was travelling at around 42mph when the two cars collided.
Investigators could not say how fast the Honda was going before the crash, but it was definitely faster than the 40mph speed limit.
Sam and Mr Piras escaped with minor injuries, but Alex had to be cut from the car by firefighters.
He was taken to Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, where he was pronounced dead.
His parents paid tribute to their son in a statement. Mother Amanda said: “I would do anything to have my lovely son back. He was a delightful, very active son and I loved the time we had with him. He was very sporty and regularly played football, rugby and cricket.”
His father Steve added: “I had a very close relationship with Alex and we shared some fantastic times.
“I constantly think back to the last time I saw him. My parting words were, ‘See you tomorrow and be careful’.”
Giving a narrative verdict, Mr Hinchliff said: “It is my belief that speed has played a major part here.
“Due to excessive speed, the driver lost control and collided with a wall before the vehicle deflected into a Vauxhall Cavalier, causing Alex to sustain fatal multiple injuries.”
Sam Brunton, now 18, will appear at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court on October 23 charged with careless driving.