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Teenager crashed car while being pursued by police after night out, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 08:55 08 November 2017

Nineteen-year-old Preston Fulcher who died in a traffic collision near North Walsham. Picture Archant Library.

Nineteen-year-old Preston Fulcher who died in a traffic collision near North Walsham. Picture Archant Library.

Archant

A teenager who took his brother's car after a night out fatally crashed into a tree while being pursued by police, an inquest heard.

Preston Fulcher, 19, was “drunk but able to walk and talk properly” when he returned home from a night out at around 2am on June 26 2016, Norfolk area coroner Yvonne Blake said.

She said Preston had been out with his brother Ben, they returned home in North Walsham together, and that Ben went out for around another half an hour then returned to find Preston was gone.

“He said Preston didn’t have permission to take his car, he wasn’t insured to drive it and he had a provisional, not full, driving licence,” Ms Blake told a jury inquest in Norwich.

Police who were responding to a separate incident noticed a car driving with its lights off at around 2.40am.

Ms Blake said the marked car put its lights and sirens on but the Peugeot did not stop. She said it went through a red light and police drove at up to 80mph in a 30mph limit to close the gap as they followed the vehicle on a route around North Walsham.

“It turns into a series of very tight bends, like a snake, in an area called Captain’s Pond,” said Ms Blake. “Shortly after this the vehicle veered sharply to the right, leaving the carriageway.”

The car crashed into a tree and Mr Fulcher died from his injuries in hospital.

“Mr Fulcher had not been wearing a (seat) belt and had been ejected from the vehicle,” Ms Blake said.

Pc Richard Jeffery, who was driving the police car, told the inquest the pursuit lasted around 90 seconds and covered one and a half miles.

He said he could not recall how close he was to the vehicle in front. Asked by the family’s lawyer, Sean Horstead, if he was three to four metres behind while travelling at 75mph in a 30mph zone, he replied: “At those speeds I would not have been that close to the vehicle in front.”

Responding to a suggestion by Mr Horstead that he should have terminated the pursuit as the risk had escalated, Mr Jeffery said: “I haven’t done anything wrong in terms of what I’ve done and I followed the training.”

The inquest, listed for four days, continues.

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