Tributes paid to 'kind, popular and out-going' Northamptonshire man who died after crashing pick-up truck into wall

"He was a kind and really popular chap"

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 1:34 pm

Tributes have been paid to a 'kind, popular and out-going' Northamptonshire man who died from his injuries after losing control of his Nissan Navara pick-up truck and hitting a stone wall while under the influence of alcohol.

Frederick Groome, 25, died on April 29, 2020, after his life support machine was turned off due to the severity of injuries caused by the single vehicle collision in Ecton Lane, Sywell, which happened on April 26 last year.

The inquest into Mr Groome's death was held today (Wednesday, May 26) at Sessions House in Northampton town centre.

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The fatal accident happened on a stretch of Ecton Lane in Sywell, just metres from Mr Groome's home
The fatal accident happened on a stretch of Ecton Lane in Sywell, just metres from Mr Groome's home

Mr Groome's father wrote in a statement read out at the inquest: "Fred had respect for everyone and everyone loved Fred. He loved his independence, loved being outside like all boys do. He was a kind and really popular chap, outgoing and a really good public speaker.

"The effects on the family have been devastating. We have good days and bad days.

"Grief is strange and I can't put a finger on it, it's always there and always with you and never goes away.

Mr Groome's previous school - Wellingborough Grammar School - said he was a 'good all round chap who was good at most things and very sociable'.

One of Mr Groome's previous headmasters reportedly said: 'Who knows where Freddie will end up? The world is his', according to the man's father.

The inquest heard how on the day of the incident, Mr Groome and his friend went over to their friend's house for drinks and food in the afternoon.

Mr Groome and his friend left the gathering at around 7.30pm.

The inquest heard that Mr Groome had had five cans of Foster's over the course of the afternoon and was offered a lift home but decided to drive himself and his friend back to his home in Sywell.

The inquest heard how on the way home, Mr Groome had failed to negotiate a left-hand turn which caused him to leave the road and crash into a stone wall at around 8pm, severely damaging the roof of his truck.

A couple who were at a nearby horse stables said in a statement read out at the inquest that they heard a 'loud bang', 'dust in the distance' and 'screeching tyres' before going down to the scene.

Another witness near the scene said the impact of the car hitting the wall 'sounded like a jet engine'.

Emergency services were called and Mr Groome was taken to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire where he was in a critical condition.

The inquest heard how it was not possible for surgeons to safely operate on Mr Groome and the decision was made to turn his life support machine off three days after the crash. Mr Groome's friend survived but was left with serious injuries.

An ante mortem report said that Mr Groome had 138mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - the drink drive limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

The cause of Mr Groome's death was listed as severe head injury.

The crash investigator told the inquest that Mr Groome's death was caused by the combination of driving too fast and being intoxicated.

The investigator said: "Mr Groome was in no condition to drive a vehicle. This level of alcohol has serious effects, this results in very reckless driving."

The investigator added that weather conditions that day were dry and sunny.

Coroner Hassan Shah wanted to send out a message to the public warning them not to drink and drive.

The coroner said: "It's clear from his father's statement that he was a high achiever, a hard worker, a well-liked and well-respected young man.

"The loss of young life is tragic and I have presided over too many over the course of the last seven years I have been an assistant coroner.

"My hope is that I no longer have to deal with inquests [like this], and that we as a community, as a society, find a way of reducing the loss of young and promising lives.

"The toxic combination of excess alcohol and driving at speed cannot be under estimated. It's a combination that so often ends in tragedy.

"If there can be a positive legacy from this, is that lives can be saved by this inquest and families don't have to endure this in the future."

The coroner recorded a conclusion of death by road traffic collision.