Mother's warning after teenager died in drink-drive crash

‘Think of your mum’: Parent’s warning after son, 19, was killed in horror drink-drive smash with friend, 22, who was going at ‘insane’ 100mph speeds before ploughing his BMW into a tree

A mother has issued a warning after her son was killed in a horror drink-drive crash with a friend who was going at ‘insane’ 100mph speeds before ploughing his BMW into a tree.

Sammy Phillips, 19, and Lewis Moghul, 22, both from Oxfordshire, died instantly when the car they were in veered onto the wrong side of the road while going round a bend and crashed on February 3.

An inquest heard that the driver, Moghul, was more than three times the legal limit and had been driving at ‘insane’ speeds of up to 100mph before the accident.

Mr Phillips’ mother Justine Morris has warned other youngsters to ‘think of your mum’ before drink-driving and revealed her son’s devastating last words.

She told the hearing that prior to the accident her son had asked her to save him some dinner, promising ‘I’ll be home by 10.’

Ms Morris said: ‘Unexpectedly he ran into friends he hadn’t seen for a while. A photo taken at 9.52pm that evening and posted on social media shows three mates, smiling and sharing a drink.’

Justine Morris has issued a chilling warning to other young men after her 19-year-old son Sammy Phillips was killed in a horror drink-drive crash

Sammy Phillips, a tree surgeon, from Henley, was in the passenger seat when his friend Lewis Moghul, 22, crashed his BMW into a tree on the night of February 3

She continued: ‘Less than an hour later two of them were dead — Lewis, who was driving, and Sammy, his passenger.

‘Bad choices were made that night. This was not an unfortunate accident. It was a tragedy that should never have happened.

‘When Lewis and Sammy got into that BMW, they took a gamble with their lives and they lost. I am sure Sammy’s friend didn’t set out to kill them both that evening but that’s the harsh reality of what happened.’

She then warned other young men not to drink and drive, pleading: ‘Think of your mum.’ 

‘At 19, Sammy was on the cusp of great things. He’d recently found his calling as a tree surgeon and had landed his first proper job. After struggling academically, he now had every reason to feel good about himself’, she said.

Mrs Morris pointed out how her son had a ‘wide circle’ of friends and ‘plans’. 

‘It was wonderful to hear him talk about his hopes and dreams for the future’, she said.

She added: ‘Sammy knew how proud we were of him and how far he’d come in the past couple of years.’

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday that the pair had died instantly when Mr Moghul’s red BMW 2 series coupe left the road and struck two trees.

The car was estimated to have been travelling at between 70mph and 100mph on the A4130 between Bix and Nettlebed. The two men had been drinking together in Henley before the crash.

A biochemist at the John Radcliffe Hospital determined that Mr Moghul’s blood alcohol level had been 247mg per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal drink-drive limit in England is 80mg. 

Speaking at the inquest, senior coroner Darren Salter read out summaries of statements made by four witnesses to the accident.

He said he was leaving out details of their accounts to present the information in a ‘sensitive and proportionate way’.

One driver, who was overtaken by the BMW travelling along the dual carriageway from Henley to Bix, said it was travelling at 100mph.

Another witness, who was getting out of his car at Bix when the incident happened, described the vehicle’s speed as ‘insane’.

Speaking at the inquest into the death of her son, Justine Morris warned other youngsters to ‘think of your mum’ before getting in the car after drinking

‘At 19, Sammy was on the cusp of great things. He’d recently found his calling as a tree surgeon and had landed his first proper job’, Mrs Morris said of her son

Angela Ridgeway said she was travelling in the opposite direction towards Henley when she saw Mr Moghul’s car on her side of the road and he swerved at the last second, narrowly avoiding her vehicle. 

She did not realise it had gone on to crash until she saw police boards appealing for information.

South Central Ambulance service received a call at 10.45pm to say that two people were trapped in a car. Paramedics called to the scene confirmed that both men were dead, the court heart.

Pc Reuben Hill, a forensic collision investigator for Thames Valley Police, told the coroner that he had been on patrol that night and arrived at the scene just after midnight.

He said: ‘The carriageway is relatively wide through Bix and as you approach the collision scene the road does narrow as well as negotiate a slight left bend.’

It was not possible to establish the exact speed of the vehicle through tyre marks or through electronic data from the car, partly because it was airborne when it hit the kerb and left the road.

However, the estimates from witnesses of between 70mph and 100mph were consistent with the damage to the vehicle. There was no dashcam footage.

Pc Hill described the night of the accident as dry, overcast and cold, adding: ‘Mud and debris on the road was as a result of the incident, it had not been there beforehand.’

A vehicle examination found no defects that had caused or contributed to the crash.

Pc Hill said that in the days after the crash he found a deer carcass 4m away from where the car left the road.

READ MORE: ‘I’ll never forgive him’: Grieving mother whose son, 18, was killed in drink-drive crash blasts his friend who was high on cannabis and filmed swigging cider at the wheel 

However, there was no indication on the vehicle that it had collided with a deer and he could not tell how long the deer had been there. He was unable say to whether the driver had swerved to avoid an animal. 

Pc Hill said that the alcohol level in Mr Moghul’s blood was such that it could have resulted in blurred vision, a reduction in hand, eye and foot co-ordination, slower reaction times and slower reflexes.

‘This level of intoxication will have had a negative impact on many of the skills needed to drive,’ said Pc Hill. ‘Lewis’s decision to drive his car at high speeds when intoxicated and his ability to drive was impaired [meant] that a collision was likely.’

Mrs Morris said: ‘Boys like Sammy die on our roads every single day of the year and the ingredients are too often the same — young men, fast cars and alcohol.

‘Road crashes remain the leading cause of death among young people in the UK and 17- to 24-year-olds are, sadly, the biggest losers.

‘As a family, we can only hope that the death of both boys will serve as a reminder to all their young friends, to all those who knew them: you are not invincible.

‘While we would support a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit so that it becomes socially unacceptable to have even one drink when driving, we recognise that no change in the law can eradicate the exuberance of youth. We were all young once.

‘So to all young men, I would simply say this: Think of your mum. Before you put your foot down, before you have a drink and think it’s okay to get behind the wheel, think of your mum standing where I am now and imagine how utterly heartbroken she’d be.’

Mr Salter recorded that both deaths were the result of a road traffic collision.

He said: ‘Lewis and Sammy died instantly and it appears from the injuries sustained that there were no lifesaving opportunities.

‘If ever there was a reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, very sadly this case is just it.’

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