A CAR in which three teenagers were killed in South Yorkshire last Christmas had been ‘souped up’ with a powerful engine and bigger brakes which contributed to the horrific crash.
An inquest also heard claims that three young drivers were racing in the moments leading up to the collision on Adwick Road in Mexborough, Doncaster, on December 28, 2010.
The two surviving drivers deny the allegations but one - Daniel Cotton, 19, is charged with dangerous driving and will appear before Doncaster magistrates next month.
The parents and family of Jonathan Scott and Robert Tepper, both 17, and 16-year-old Lauren Birkett, heard six hours of evidence at yesterday’s hearing but will have to wait until Monday before Coroner Nicola Mundy gives her verdict. The teenagers died when the Vauxhall Corsa driven by Jonathan, an apprentice mechanic, of Park Road, Conisbrough, collided with an oncoming car after making an overtaking manoeuvre.
A police expert estimated the Corsa containing Robert, Lauren and another girl, Chloe Newby, who survived, was approaching 60mph in what is a 50mph area, when it skidded and went out of control.
Another car, a Vauxhall Astra, containing four of their friends and driven by Daniel Cotton, had just completed overtaking a Fiat Punto driven by another teenager.
The Punto driver, Daniel Cousins, claimed in court he was being ‘tail-gated’ by the Astra before he was overtaken but denied accelerating to prevent the Corsa getting in front of him.
Shopkeeper Andrew Newton and his wife were walking along Adwick Road when they heard ‘throaty exhausts’ from behind and saw ‘three cars flying up the dual carriageway’.
“They were travelling at some speed, bumper to bumper,” said Mr Newton.
He believed they were doing about 50mph in a 30mph zone and told the coroner: “They seemed as if they were racing each other.”
Another pedestrian, Mandy Brooks, also thought they were racing.
Daniel Cousins’ Punto had first overtaken the Astra and Corsa on the Mexborough relief road and they followed him onto Adwick Road.
Mr Cousins, a butcher, gave evidence that the Astra ‘was tail-gating me’ and then overtook.
“He backed off before he overtook, I didn’t mind him overtaking me, there was nowt coming. There was plenty of room,” he said.
“I didn’t realise the Corsa was overtaking me until it was at the side of me. I didn’t have anything against the Corsa overtaking me. I just let it overtake. The Corsa got back in and then his back end slid out.”
The driver’s side of the Corsa collided with a VW Golf coming in the opposite direction, and the Astra turned round to return to the crash.
Astra driver Daniel Cotton denied on oath there was any racing going on.
He also disputed the evidence of the pedestrians because he admitted having had ‘fall outs’ in the past with Mr Newton.