Derry Hill: Four friends killed after drink-driver travelling up to 120mph crashed car into house

Police believe the driver was travelling at speeds up to 120mph before the crash in 2020

Jordan Rawlings, Corey Owen, Ryan Nelson and Matthew Parke died in the crash in August 2020
Jordan Rawlings, Corey Owen, Ryan Nelson and Matthew Parke died in the crash in August 2020

Four young men died as the driver crashed his car into a house while over the drink drive limit, an inquest heard on 13 July.

Ryan Nelson, 20, Corey Owen, 19, Matthew Parke, 19, were all killed in 2020 in a car driven by Jordan Rawlings, 20.

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The friends were travelling along the A4 in Derry Hill, Wiltshire, when their vehicle left the road and hit a house - bursting into flames.

Ryan, Corey, and Matthew, all from Calne, Wiltshire, died in the crash on 16 August after spending a night out together.

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Car could have been going at 120mph

An inquest held today into the deaths of Ryan, Corey and Matthew, heard the car could have been going at 120mph before the crash and the driver, Jordan Rawlings, who also died, was over the legal alcohol limit.Accident investigators showed the court Snapchat footage sent by the young men just before the smash, used by investigators to determine where they were in the car and the speed they were travelling at.

Police accident investigator Stephen Spenner told the court they left the Pewsham Roundabout at 80mph and could have been travelling at 120 mph before crashing.

The wheel of the two-door VW Polo was ripped off as the car tore through the hedge of the Derry Hill house.

House owner woken by loud bang

In a statement read to the court, Margaret Carnegie, who lives in the property the car crashed into, said she was woken by a loud bang which shook the house.

Wiltshire Coroner's Court also heard a variety of witness accounts of the incident – including the desperate attempts by a passing lorry driver, a taxi driver and his passengers to help the young men.

They described hearing screams and shouts from the burning car but were forced back because of the extreme heat.

One of the taxi passengers described how he tried to get the car window open, but the rubber had melted, and he burned his hand trying to save them.

‘Mature beyond his years’

A statement from Corey’s mother Tessa read: “Corey was my first son, best friend and man about the house.

“The bond we shared was incredibly close. He was a sensible reliable young man mature beyond his years.

“When he died he was in process of applying university.

“The night he died shouldn’t have been in Wiltshire. He was due to go on a weekend away but couldn’t get time off.

“He was a person his brothers and sisters looked up to do the right thing.”

‘He will be so missed’

A statement on behalf of Matthew Parke’s family read: “He was going to go to university and start degree in business management. He wanted to stay in touch with old friends and share with him experiences of Swansea.

“He passed all first-year exams and was due to return September 2020.

“Lockdown was a really tough thing for him to cope with.

"He was a very popular young man – confident, popular, strong-willed, and determined.

“He will be so missed from those who knew him.”

An inquest into the death of the driver, Jordan Rawlings, is to be held next week.

The hearing continues.

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