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Crash inquest told of drink and cocaine
TWO friends killed in a car crash near Didcot had been drinking and taking cocaine in the hours before their deaths.
Driver Rhys Roberts, 21, was more than one and a half times the drink-drive limit when the Peugeot 306 he had taken from a friend hit a brick wall at Hadden Hill.
Both he and 19-year-old front-seat passenger Jack Varney had been drinking and taking cocaine leading up to the crash at about 3.45am on Monday, May 28.
An inquest into to their deaths at Oxford’s Old County Hall yesterday heard Mr Roberts and Mr Varney had been socialising at friend Byron Eudell’s house the night before.
Also there were Mr Eudell’s mother Rosaleen Selkirk and Mr Roberts’ cousin, Dean Thomas.
In a statement, Mr Thomas said he went to sleep at about 1.30am and woke up at 5.30am to find his car keys and his R-reg Peugeot 306 XSi had been taken.
The inquest heard it had been seen being driven erratically with “squealing tyres” in Wallingford town centre by KP Stationers’ manager Deborah Kempson at about 3.25am.
Shortly afterwards Hadden Hill resident Mark Bradley was woken by a loud bang and the sight of the burning Peugeot on his drive. Both men were declared dead at the scene.
Post mortems revealed Mr Roberts, of St Anne’s Court, Didcot, had died of severe head and neck injuries and Mr Varney, of Station Road, Didcot, died of multiple injuries and smoke inhalation.
Mr Roberts’ blood-alcohol level was 132 milligrams and Mr Varney’s was 75. The legal driving limit is 80. Both men tested positive for cocaine.
Crash investigator Pc Daniel Henderson said the car had been travelling at about 55mph in a 40mph zone. It was most likely Mr Roberts had drifted into the opposite lane then over-corrected and skidded off the road.
Coroner Darren Salter recorded verdicts of accidental death.
Mr Roberts’ mother, Indeg Bishop, said in a statement: “Since the tragic accident, myself and our family have been left devastated. Words could not explain how much we all loved and miss him.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all his many friends for their support and compassion for us since the accident.”