Investigation concludes into fatal collision in Kingswinford

27 Aug 2021 01:23 PM

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following a fatal collision in Kingswinford has concluded.

We looked at the actions of West Midlands Police prior to the incident on 13 October. A yellow Skoda Fabia lost control and hit a tree on Bromley Lane at around 8.50pm, resulting in the deaths of four people.

The driver, 21-year-old Joshua Parkes, was confirmed dead at the scene along with passengers Lucy Tibbetts and Isabelle Floyd, both 16. A fourth person, 18-year-old Nathan Cartwright, later died from his injuries. Another passenger, a 16-year-old girl, was also injured.

Our investigation found that police became aware, following a check on the police national computer, that the Skoda was not insured. As a result, officers decided to stop the vehicle, which by this point was no longer in their sight.

The officers briefly switched on their vehicle’s blue lights and then siren, in order to pass another car in front of them. However, before they could catch up with the Skoda it had crashed.

We looked at CCTV and dashcam footage of the incident and reviewed statements from the officers involved as well as other witnesses.

We found no evidence that police were in pursuit of the vehicle at any point or that they were ever directly behind the Skoda. There was nothing to suggest any officers witnessed the collision itself.

We also investigated a complaint from a relative of one of the passengers, who believed there may have been an opportunity for officers to seize the vehicle prior to the collision.

We spoke with three forces, including West Midlands Police, and found no evidence of prior police contact with Mr Parkes. Nor did the evidence indicate any reasonably practicable opportunity to intervene earlier.

The police officers involved were treated as witnesses throughout our investigation.

Inquests into the deaths of the four people involved took place recently (26 August 2021) and found the cause of death for the three passengers to a road traffic collision. In relation to the driver, a verdict of misadventure was recorded.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell recently said:

“This was a tragic event that resulted in the deaths of four young people. Our thoughts remain with their families and all those affected.

“It is vital that incidents like this are thoroughly and independently investigated, which is what we have done. While it is likely the driver was aware of the police presence, the evidence does not suggest that the actions of police contributed to what happened that day.

“As well as providing independent scrutiny of what happened, our investigation has also helped to inform today’s inquest proceedings and, I hope, provide some answers to the families’ questions about the crash.”