Driver quizzed after two die in police chase crash

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A motorist was being questioned today after a couple were killed by a car speeding away from police.

The Ford Mondeo driver, who is 31, was being held on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after the collision at 11.18 last night in the centre of Reading, Thames Valley Police said.

Chief Superintendent Steve Kirk said: "A patrolling police vehicle saw a Ford Mondeo car drive through a red traffic signal at the junction of Castle Hill and the Tilehurst Road.

"Following the illumination of blue lights on the police vehicle the Mondeo accelerated away.

"A short distance later, at the junction with Western Elms Avenue, the Mondeo collided with the rear of a small hatchback car which had been travelling in the same direction, resulting in the death at the scene of the occupants, a local man and his wife.

"The occupant of the Mondeo was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and is in custody at Loddon Valley police station.

"Next of kin have been informed and are being supported by family and a police family liaison officer."

The victims, a married couple aged 54 and 49, were driving a Chevrolet Matiz.

IT trainer Jonathan Oppenheim, 43, who lives about 200 metres from the crash scene, was unaware of last night's tragedy until he walked past the area this morning.

"I did say to myself 'What on earth has happened here?"' he said.

"When I crossed the road I noticed a burnt-out area on the road and the path. There was also a distinct smell of smoke.

"There was no wreckage left at the scene this morning."

Mr Oppenheim said he did not know the people involved but added: "My heart goes out to their family."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said three investigators had gone to the scene to carry out an assessment.

It said: "As part of this process they have viewed the in-car footage from the police vehicle and seen the initial statements of the officers concerned.

"A decision regarding the appropriate level of IPCC involvement will be made in due course."

All deaths involving police operations are referred to the IPCC.

Witnesses are asked to contact Thames Valley Police on 0845 8 505 505.