Boy killed on motorway after row

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The Independent Online

A boy of 15 was killed after wandering into the path of motorway traffic following a minor row with his father over his drinking at a family wedding, an inquest heard today.

Student Scott Turner was hit by a number of vehicles, including an unmarked police car, on the M23 at Crawley, West Sussex, at about 1.50am on July 18 last year.

The teenager, from Burgess Hill, had earlier in the evening been drinking pints at the wedding reception of a cousin.

Scott's father, Andrew Turner, said he received a reaction typical of many teenagers when he warned Scott about his drinking but that he did not appear out of control.

Mr Turner, a builder, told the inquest at Horsham Magistrates' Court: "He didn't appear drunk to be honest, but he was merry.

"He wasn't falling over himself, but I did say to Scott, 'You've had enough, leave it there'.

"He then said a few words to me, as 15-year-old kids do. He said, 'Oh, leave me alone Dad. You are always having a go at me'.

"I said, 'Scott, you've had enough and go to bed'." Mr Turner added that Scott "reared up" at him and stormed off which he had done on previous occasions.

Scott's brother, Ben, tried to calm the situation but Scott told him to leave as well.

Mr Turner said: "I said to Ben, 'Leave him alone, he will come back when he is ready'.

He added: "Ben went off again and the next thing I know, I got a knock at about 3am to say what had happened to Scott."

The teenager had left the party and was spotted by motorists on foot in dark clothing on the hard shoulder of the busy M23 where he was struck by several vehicles.

Motorist Sarah Howard, who passed him moments beforehand, said she saw a figure "stooped and staggering slightly" as if he was trying to find his footing in the darkness.

Mr Turner said: "It was just one of those normal situations that you have with teenage kids. I expected him to come back and enjoy himself and go to bed."

A post-mortem examination found Scott's death was from multiple injuries.

Toxicology tests showed he was more than twice the legal drink-drive limit, with 195mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg. He tested negative for drugs.

His brother, Ben, said he could tell by about 10pm that Scott had had too much to drink, saying he became louder and more boisterous after drinking.

"Dad told me to leave Scott alone and said that he will be back once he had calmed down," said Ben. "This was something he has done before."

In his statement, Ben added that he asked Scott to come back as he walked towards the main road away from the party, but that he started to jog before falling out of sight.

An ambulance transporting a suspected domestic violence victim to hospital was also among at least four vehicles which struck keen footballer Scott on the motorway, the inquest heard.

Travelling behind the ambulance in an unmarked police car was Pc Guy Williamson who said both emergency vehicles were travelling without lights or sirens when they both struck him.