Speed blamed for crash that killed two young men

CRASH SCENE Floral tributes at the scene in West Lane, Hayling Island where Jason Matthews and Perry Morgan died in a road traffic crash.    Picture: Allan Hutchings (113149-813)
CRASH SCENE Floral tributes at the scene in West Lane, Hayling Island where Jason Matthews and Perry Morgan died in a road traffic crash. Picture: Allan Hutchings (113149-813)
Portsmouth Magistrates Court.''Picture: Cesar Moreno Huerta

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A ROAD tragedy which claimed the lives of two young men was caused by speeding, an inquest heard.

Jason Matthews, 22, was driving a black Audi between 54mph and 66mph along a 40mph rural lane on Hayling Island when the horrific crash happened.

Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews

Eye-witnesses told the inquest they saw the wheels of the car bouncing off the ground as Mr Matthews frantically tried to regain control of the vehicle on West Lane, which is notorious for its bends and cambers.

Portsmouth Coroners’ Court heard the fisherman from Hayling and his friend Perry Morgan, 21, who was in the front passenger seat, would have died instantly as the car hit a large tree and landed in the road on its roof.

The inquest was told Mr Matthews, also known as JJ, had asked Mr Morgan for a lift into Portsmouth on the afternoon of September 1 last year.

The Audi belonged to Mr Morgan’s girlfriend, Crystel Davies, who agreed her boyfriend could drive the car.

Perry Morgan

Perry Morgan

Miss Davies said: ‘I said JJ was not to drive my car. He had asked me before if he could do when I was driving.’

The court heard Mr Matthews did not have a full driving licence.

He had a provisional licence dating back to 2006, but there were no L-plates on the car.

As the pair returned from Portsmouth, they travelled south along West Lane.

Rosemary Hardy, who was driving south along West Lane, said a car overtook her.

‘It was a dark-coloured car travelling at very high speed,’ she said.

Luke Worsley, who was driving north, said: ‘I saw the Audi in the distance come to a point in the road where there’s a sharp chicane.

‘It’s very undulating. The car went very light.

‘I remember the front wheels almost coming off the ground.

‘I could see him wrestling with the steering wheel since he had lost control.

‘The angle he went past me, I knew he was not going to be able to correct it.’

Crash investigator PC Michael Gunby found no defects with the car or road surface. He said 40mph was the appropriate speed limit for the road.

A quantity of cannabis was later found in Mr Matthews’ blood.

PC Robert Giles, a police drug driving expert, said the drug can affect drivers’ ability to pay attention and multi-task.

Coroner David Horsley, recording a verdict of accidental death, said the cannabis would have affected Mr Matthews’ ability to deal with the situation once the car got out of control.

He said: ‘It seems to me it was (travelling) too fast. It was over the speed limit. It’s an awful thing that two young lives have been lost like this.’

After the inquest, Mr Morgan’s family, from Silvester Road, Cowplain, said they wanted to thank emergency services for their ‘valiant efforts’ trying to save him.

Their statement added: ‘It is not the first time and certainly will not be the last that the lives of young men are wasted by driving accidents such as this, but we only hope that in some way there are some that would have learnt a lesson from this tragedy.’

Mr Matthews’ brother Scott said: ‘Their names, thoughts and memories will always be with us.’