A TEENAGER from Daventry was three times the legal drink-drive limit when he died in a car crash, an inquest heard yesterday (Wednesday October 17).
Joe Butler, 19, of Chaucer Way, Daventry, died at the scene of the collision south on the A5 from Watford Gap on March 11 at around 2am.
Speaking at the inquest into his death, Dr David Fattah, consultant histopathologist at Northampton General Hospital, said Joe died as a result of a head injury he sustained in the crash.
Joe’s friends, Sam Allen and Shaun Claxton, were passengers in his black Volkswagen Polo when it left the road and rolled several times.
The group of friends had been at a party in Weedon before taking another friend to The Square nightclub in Daventry and going onto Watford Gap service station to fill the car up with petrol and buy cigarettes.
The group saw their friend, Nicholas Wilkins, at the service station and he followed them in his car as they left.
Speaking at the inquest Mr Allen said: “We left Watford Gap to go back to Weedon and Nick overook us at about 60mph. Joe started to go faster and faster and overtook Nick.
“I was being thrown about in the car and was screaming at him to slow down because I was scared.
“Then suddenly Joe lost control of the car and it flipped and rolled along the carriageway.”
Shaun added: “I was frightened by the way Joe was driving. He was going really fast. I told him to slow down.
“I remember the car hitting the kerb and then it turned over. I think Joe was going at around 80mph.”
Sam and Shaun both suffered injuries in the collision but Joe died at the scene.
The inquest heard that after the collision Nicholas drove past and saw Joe’s upturned car but he did not remain at the scene.
Joe was a former student at William Parker School, he went on to Northampton College in Daventry where he studied art and design.
He was well known around the town and beyond, particularly for his BMX skills and was regularly at the town’s ramps on the New Street Rec, honing his own skills, but also helping others and showing them how to do tricks.
County coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict of accidental death.
She said: “Joe drove at far too fast a speed while he was severely impaired by the amount of alcohol he had consumed.
“What a pity he didn’t listen to his mother when she didn’t want him to go out driving.”
For an interview with Joe’s dad and his reaction to the inquest, see this week’s Daventry Express.