Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Farnborough crash victim Andrew Smee 'may have been racing'

Andrew Smee Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Andrew Smee suffered head and chest injuries in the crash

Police officers believed a driver they were following shortly before he crashed had been racing another car, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Smee, 22, died when the Audi he was driving crashed on Cherrywood Road in Farnborough, Hampshire, in July.

He had been travelling up to 60mph (96.5 km/h) on 30mph (48km/h) roads and had taken alcohol and drugs, Basingstoke Coroner's Court heard.

An investigation previously found the officers had not breached standards.

Mr Smee died when he attempted to take a bend at almost 60mph, losing control and hitting a lamppost and a tree, on 19 July, the court was told. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two police officers in a marked car first saw a Mercedes travelling at speed on the A352, before following the Audi, the inquest heard.

One of the officers, PC Paula Harte, said: "It looked as though they were racing each other".

'Cocaine and cannabis use'

The inquest heard she was about to ask the control room for permission to start a "pursuit" when the Audi turned into Cherrywood Road, having gone the wrong way round a roundabout.

The officers subsequently saw a wheel rolling down the street and crash wreckage up ahead.

Toxicology reports showed Mr Smee had been using cocaine and cannabis, and was a third over the drink-drive limit, the court was told.

Giving evidence, forensic investigator Simon Brooks said there was no evidence of any impact between the police car and the Audi.

He said GPS tracking data showed the police car arrived at the scene about 18 seconds after the crash.

Acting coroner for North Hampshire, Sam Marsh, concluded Mr Smee died as the result of a road traffic collision caused by taking a bend at excessive speed, while impaired through alcohol and drugs.

An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation concluded there was no indication that officers may have breached standards of professional behaviour.

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