Decision due on whether to charge teen after A182 smash death

Flowers left at the scene of the crash in tribute to Karl Bennett.
Flowers left at the scene of the crash in tribute to Karl Bennett.

A file of evidence is due to be handed over to lawyers this week for a decision to be made on whether to charge a man with causing the death of his friend.

Karl Bennett was just days away from reaching his 18th birthday when the green Ford Mondeo he was a passenger in left the road just after midnight on Sunday, May 17 last year, and overturned in a field.

Karl Bennett, 17, who died in a car accident on Sunday, May 17.

Karl Bennett, 17, who died in a car accident on Sunday, May 17.

The popular Northern Gas Networks apprentice, who lived in Easington Lane, was confirmed dead at the scene. He had been in the car with two other young men when the collision happened on the A182 South Hetton Road.

The 18-year-olds were both taken to hospital for treatment for injuries and released a short time later.

One was later arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving by Durham Constabulary.

He is on bail until a date in May.

It is noteworthy that a file is now to be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service this week and with that in mind I will review this again on May 9.

Coroner Andrew Tweddle

At an inquest review held in Crook yesterday, coroner Andrew Tweddle spoke of how the case had been referred to him “quite a long time ago” as the police investigations were carried out, but that the inquiries were now moving on a stage.

A decision is due to be made “whether there will or will not be a criminal prosecution”.

He told the hearing: “I cannot progress matters further pending the outcome of the investigation by police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

“It is noteworthy that a file is now to be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service this week, and, with that in mind, I will review this again on May 9.”

A previous hearing was told police were using “advanced technology” as they worked to establish the identity of the driver and had been seeking “charging advice” from prosecutors.

Karl, who was working as a design technician in Sunderland, had been an amateur boxer and had trained with the former Hetton Boxing Club.

Police have appealed for anyone who saw the crash or car at the time leading up to the collision, to call the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit on (01642) 301 558 or Durham Constabulary on 101.