Richard Smith

Monday 20 May 1996 23:02

A police inspector's 17-year-old son who died with four friends in a car crash had not passed his driving test, had no insurance and no licence or MoT test certificate for his car, an inquest heard. Richard Smith, son of Thames Valley police inspector Steve Smith, died instantly along with three young friends when his Mini Metro failed to take a bend and ploughed side on into an oncoming Ford Transit van on the A413 Buckingham bypass in February.

Passengers Darren Watson, 17, Paul Smith, 16, and Nathan Whitmore, 17, all died at the scene. Another passenger, Hailey Schiff, 18, was pulled alive from the wreckage, but died later in hospital. Coroner Rodney Corner recorded accidental death verdicts on the victims, who were all from the Buckingham area and were students at Milton Keynes College.

Mr Corner said there were too many people in the car and this had contributed to the driver not being able to regain control of his vehicle. The inquest at Milton Keynes was told that Richard's mother and father had gone away and that he was at home on his own when he took the car, which he had been given as a present, without their knowledge.

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