Tragic crash death after speed camera removed

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 May 2011

Billy Davis

Billy Davis

Archant

A WESTON teenager died after crashing his car on a notorious stretch of road – only weeks after a speed camera had been removed.

Billy Davis, of Severn Road, was fatally injured after he lost control of his BMW on the A370 at East Brent last September.

Following an inquest into the 19-year-old’s death last week, West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said he would be writing to Somerset County Council to raise concerns about the removal of speed cameras across the district.

The inquest, held in Taunton last Thursday, heard that Billy had been drinking on the evening of the crash with his second cousin Richard Still and was over the drink drive limit.

His girlfriend Simone Leigh-Willmore, who was at a birthday party, asked him if she should get a taxi or if he could pick her up, and despite Richard trying to discourage him, Billy insisted on driving.

The inquest was told by Tracy Bradley, who had hosted the birthday party for her daughter, that when Billy arrived he was antagonised by a party-goer who wanted a lift but he refused.

After collecting Simone he drove off at an excessive speed to begin with as an act of ‘bravado’ but then regained a normal pace.

Billy drove the group, which included another two of his friends, to get some food at McDonald’s on Winterstoke Road.

His two friends went home and Richard said he would get a taxi back to his dad’s house in Axbridge but Billy said he would take him.

The coroner heard that Billy was driving at a fast speed – between 60 and 70mph – and lost control of the car as he tried to negotiate a left-hand bend on a 40mph stretch of the road and crashed into a telegraph pole.

Simone, who broke her right femur in the crash, told the inquest: “The last thing I remember is going round a corner and seeing all the bushes coming towards us and the next thing I remember is waking up in front of the car in a field.”

Richard managed to get out of the vehicle and drag Simone up onto the bank, and they were helped by East Brent residents Betty and William Griffin and their daughter Elizabeth.

The coroner was told that the engine was still running for a short while after the crash but then cut out and the car burst into flames.

A report by the Collision Investigation Unit revealed that Billy had not been wearing a seatbelt and it was likely he would have died instantaneously.

Mr Rose recorded a narrative verdict. He said: “The accident in all probability would not have happened if the driver had adhered to the speed limit of 40mph, not consumed an excessive amount of alcohol and the speed camera immediately before the accident had not been removed.”

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