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Man charged with causing death by dangerous driving after mother-of-one killed in river plunge


A man has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a mother-of-one was killed when a car containing five people plummeted into a river.

Police said a 33-year-old from Bristol had been charged in relation to the incident and is also accused of drink-driving and driving without insurance or a licence.

The accident saw a silver BMW crash through railings at Bristol's St Philip's Bridge and into the river Avon, leaving a woman believed to be the front seat passenger and named locally as 22-year-old Namara Whisker dead.

A 21-year-old woman from Bristol who was also being held has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The accused man has been refused bail and will appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court tomorrow morning.

Ms Whisker was pronounced dead at the scene after the BMW, containing four other passengers, went into the water at around 4am yesterday.

Relatives of the victim are being supported by a family liaison officer and have asked to be left to grieve their loss.

But friends described the former business studies student, from the Easton area of the city, as "the kindest person you could ever meet" and a "fashion icon".

School friend Shawnika Sergeant, 22, said: "She was so pretty, bubbly and a special girl."

Another friend, who said her name was Charlene, said Ms Whisker has a two-month-old son.

"I can't believe he is going to grow up without his mummy," she added.

Engineers were today working to erect a temporary barrier to cover up the gaping hole in railings over the bridge, where the car plunged 20ft (6m) into the water below.

Several bouquets of flowers lay on a plinth next to the river's edge paying tribute to the dead woman.

Six members of Avon and Somerset Police were taken to hospital in Bristol after leaping into the chilly river to rescue the BMW's occupants but have all returned to work today.

Police Inspector Paul Winship dismissed suggestions that a police vehicle may have been in pursuit of the BMW as it crashed on Passage Street over the river.

"I can confirm this was a straightforward accident involving a single car going off the road," he said.