WARNING: Video contains footage that some viewers may find distressing.
Two young men from Tunbridge Wells, England, died instantly when their car crashed into a church wall in April. Their families have supported the release the footage of their last moments to serve as a warning to others (video below).
Kyle Careford, 20, who was the driver during the early morning hours of April 12, and Michael Owen, 21, were allegedly high on prescribed and illegal drugs while speeding along the Sussex countryside, Kent Online reports. Several witnesses, including truck and taxi drivers, reported needing to move out of the way of the speeding red Renault Clio, according to an inquest into the young men's deaths. which was held on Oct. 6.
Footage from a cellphone captures the final moments of their lives inside the car. The duo can be heard laughing and singing at the beginning of the video. Towards the end, a woman's voice asking if anyone was alive can be heard after the car crashed and overturned.
During the video, Owen tried to convince Careford to drive more cautiously, repeatedly saying, "slow down" and "come on." While driving down a residential road, Owen noted that the car was traveling at 90 mph. Ultimately, the car smashed through a wall at Saint Michael and All Saints church, during which time the video turned black and sounds of the crash can be heard in the background.
Both men were declared dead at the scene. Careford did not have a license and was uninsured to drive the car, which belonged to Owen, the inquest heard.
The video was obtained from Owen's phone, which was found under a tree near the scene. The footage was also shown at the inquest, and the coroner came to the verdict that both men died from the road traffic collision.
"We bring our children up teaching them right from wrong," Owen's mother, Kat, said after the inquest, according to Kent Online. "We guide them and give them our advice and hope they listen, but once they are adults we hope they make the right choices."
The families hope the video will encourage others to make wiser choices.
"If all this stops one person from making the same mistake, then some good has come from showing this video," Owen's mother said. "I'm hoping it will have an impact on young people and make them see that a bit of fun can have such devastating consequences."
"This footage or anything of its kind should never be recorded, let alone watched," Zac Hemming, Careford's brother, said. "However, despite the pain of it being broadcast by the media, we as a family just hope and pray that this will connect with at least one person out there, young or old, so that no-one ever has to experience the unthinkable pain of losing someone so close and dearly loved."
"I would like all the young people out there to take notice and realize that you are not invincible and take seriously how precious your lives are to yourselves and others," Kat said. "I want young drivers to consider how much devastation it causes to the families and loved ones that are left behind.