‘Loveable friends’ killed in birthday crash tragedy

Floral tributes left at the scene in February.
Floral tributes left at the scene in February.

Two ‘loveable’ friends died in a horrific high-speed car crash after celebrating one of their birthdays, an inquest heard.

Callum Fretwell, 23, and Luke Spragg, 25, were both killed instantly when the car they were travelling in crashed into a traffic light, street sign and a tree on Wakefield Road in Featherstone on February 12 - Mr Spragg’s 25th birthday.

An inquest was told Mr Fretwell was more than two times over the drink-drive limit when he crashed his orange Ford Focus ST at the junction of Wakefield Road and Common Side Lane at around 11.50pm.

Collision investigator Robert Eyre said the car was travelling at more than 70mph when it crossed onto the wrong side of the road and collided with the kerb before crashing into a group of trees.

Deputy coroner Melanie Williamson read a statement from Mr Spragg’s mum Karon Dyas which said 22 of his friends and family had been celebrating his birthday at the Kinsley Greyhound Stadium before making their way to the Last Orders Pub, Station Lane, in Featherstone.

Reading the statement Ms Williamson said: “I was awoken at about 1.45am by a police officer who informed me that Luke had been killed in a road traffic collision - that was the start of my nightmare.”

Callum Fretwell

Callum Fretwell

In her statement Ms Dyas said she still found it hard to believe that Mr Spragg, who worked as a machine operator at the Tangerine sweets factory in Pontefract, had died.

It said: “I still ask the whys and what ifs but I realise I will never get answers to those questions.

“I don’t blame Callum and hold no grudge against him. Luke got in that car off his own accord.

“Luke was a lovable well-liked son and I will miss him always.”

Reading a statement from Mr Fretwell’s mum Tracy, Ms Williamson said the 23-year-old was a promising boxer who had been told he would qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

The statement said: “He would light up a room whenever he entered it. I think my son would have made it as a boxer but now I will never know.”

Dr Jane Thomas, a consultant pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examinations, said they both died of multiple injuries.

She said a toxicology report on Mr Fretwell found he had 200 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood - more than two times the legal drink-drive limit of 80.

There was also evidence of recent cocaine use which she said “may have had an impact.”

Sgt Ann Drury, of West Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Enquiry Team, told the inquest the men left the Last Orders pub in Mr Fretwell’s car which was seen by several witnesses driving at “excessive speed.”

She said the car had been legally modified to increase its brake horse power which affects how quickly it can accelerate.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Ms Williamson said: “The impact of the collision was such that not only did the car suffer significant damage but two young men were unfortunately fatally injured.

“Their deaths would have been instantaneous.

“The only appropriate conclusion is that this was an accident. It is a total and utter tragedy to lose to lose two men who were so young with their lives ahead of them.”

Speaking after the case Ms Dyas said: “We love Luke so much and miss him dearly. He has taken my heart with him and it’s not the same without him.

“We would also like to thank our family liaison officer Jez Hepworth for all of his help. He has been and continues to be really supportive.”