Inquest told of crash death terror

GIVING EVIDENCE: Dylan Greenwood (left) and Corey Lotriet outside Fleetwood Magistrates' Court.

GIVING EVIDENCE: Dylan Greenwood (left) and Corey Lotriet outside Fleetwood Magistrates' Court.

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TWO men told of the shocking moment they watched their girlfriends killed in an horrific crash.

Dylan Greenwood and Corey Lotriet had been following a car driven by Danielle Lanchester with her friend Carly Notton in the passenger seat when it careered off the road and hit a tree on the outskirts of Poulton.

Danielle Lanchester

Danielle Lanchester

Miss Lanchester, from Grange Park, and Miss Notton, from Palatine Road, were killed.

They were both 17.

Mr Greenwood, who was engaged to Miss Lanchester, told an inquest: “The car was in a v-shape. It was crushed to bits.

“We were trying to stop cars for help we were both screaming.

Carly Notton

Carly Notton

“It was terrible.”

Mr Greenwood, 19, and Mr Lotriet, 21, denied suggestions they had been racing in a car behind the girls when the crash happened on Garstang Road East, Poulton, on November 28 last year.

Mr Lotriet said: “Danielle and Carly were playing music very loudly in the car. We could see them dancing in the seats.

“Danielle began speeding up, but Dylan didn’t.”

He said he saw Miss Lanchester – who would have been 18 two days after the crash – swerving from side to side three or four times and then lose control.

Mr Greenwood added: “Danielle’s car was toward the middle of the road. She started swerving from side to side.

“I got the impression she was doing this on purpose, pulling and pushing the steering wheel.

“No way were we racing.”

The inquest at Fleetwood heard how there had been an argument among the couples earlier in the evening and Mr Greenwood and Mr Lotriet had driven off.

But they were called back and the couples went for a drive around Blackpool and then to Poulton.

A Renault Clio, driven by Miss Lanchester, struck a tree bending her car into a v-shape.

The vehicle then rolled down an embankment, through a fence, ending on its roof.

Mr Lotriet described the moments after the crash.

He said: “I was upset and worried – in fact I was terrified.

“There was no noise at all, no one about. All I could hear was the sound of hissing. I was worried petrol was coming out of Danielle’s car. Danielle’s car was really badly damaged.

“I was trying to speak to the ambulance people, but I found I was shaking so much I couldn’t speak.”

Mr Lotriet added: “I would describe Danielle as a dangerous driver. It was like she was not scared of anything.”

Witness Luke Smith said he stopped at the scene and the two men were hysterical.

He said: “One of the two males, I can’t be sure which one, said ‘he, me and my girlfriend were racing down the road’ or ‘my mate and his girlfriend were racing down the road’.”

PC Adrian Harrison, from the police accident investigation team, said the car had been going in excess of the 50mph speed limit but he could not tell by how much.

After the crash Mr Greenwood and Mr Lotriet were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Police said, at the time, one line of inquiry was the possibility that the two cars were racing each other.

In February, both men were told by Lancashire Police they would face no further action as there was nothing to suggest they had done anything to cause the collision.

Blackpool deputy coroner Christopher Beverley, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said: “What does seem likely is these two young women were in their car with their music probably playing quite loud and there was clearly an element of moving.

“It’s very likely in responding to the rhythm of the music there was a degree of movement on the steering wheel while it was no longer possible to control that movement, with the tragedy ensuing.

“These were two delightful young women. They had everything to live for. No-one could have predicted what happened that fateful evening.”