A driver who killed himself and his cousin after crashing into a signpost in Corby had no driving licence and alcohol and cannabis in his system, an inquest has heard.
Ben Morrison, 21, and Thomas Hanvey, 16, both died after the Vauxhall Corsa they were travelling in hit a road sign in Weldon Road at about 2.20am on Friday, July 10, this year.
The inquest in Kettering today (Thursday) heard how the pair had been celebrating Thomas’s 16th birthday the day before at the time of the crash.
A post-mortem examination found both to have cannabis in their system with Mr Morrison, who was driving the vehicle, found to have alcohol in his blood sample.
The pathologist was unable to confirm whether he was over the legal drink-drive limit, but said there was no doubt he was ‘very close’.
Forensic collision investigator Cliff Wilkins judged Mr Morrison to be driving over the speed limit of 40mph.
He said: “The magnitude of the collision was enormous and it was simply a loss of control.
“There were no other vehicles involved and we have calculated that the car was travelling at a speed of between 57mph and 70mph.
“The speedometer needle was stuck on 69mph, which is often indicative [of the speed the car was going at the time of the crash].
“The car was sold to Ben to be scrapped immediately and was uninsured, with Ben not possessing a driving licence.
“Thomas was encouraged to stay out with Ben and there is little doubt Ben’s driving ability was affected.”
Both died at the scene.
Witness Nigel Larkins told the inquest he heard ‘a massive explosion and saw parts of the car everywhere’.
Mr Morrison’s father Nik said: “Ben was full of life the day before and excited about the future.
“He didn’t have the easiest of times but still smiled and engaged and he knew he had people who loved him.”
Thomas’ mother Maxine North said: “Tom looked up to Ben and had a close bond with him.
“He loved his family very much and his death has left a huge hole.
“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t miss him and his cheeky sense of humour.”
Recording a verdict of death by road traffic collision, senior coroner Anne Pember said: “What a waste of two young lives.
“It is clear that the car was travelling at an inappropriate speed and I firmly believe that the combination of alcohol and cannabis would have adversely affected Ben’s ability to drive.”