A horror car crash which killed three people from Luton was an avoidable tragedy, an inquest has found.
Stephen Evans, 20, Rebecca Nabarro, 23, and Casey Flissikowski, 18, all died after the two-car collision on the B530 Fancott near Toddington at 11.18pm on December 1.
An inquest held in Ampthill yesterday heard that on that night Mr Evans, Miss Nabarro and Miss Flissikowski had travelled across Luton and Dunstable in Mr Evans’ Vauxhall Corsa to look at ‘haunted houses’.
After going over the steep peaks and troughs of the B350, Mr Evans decided to turn back so they could experience the stretch of road known as the ‘Toddington Hills’ again.
However on the second time round Mr Evans lost control of the car, which collided with a Jaguar XS travelling in the opposite direction.
Mr Evans and Miss Nabarro were confirmed dead by paramedics at the scene, while Miss Flisskowski died the following day at Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
Collision investigator PC Jennifer Miller told the inquest that at the time of the crash Mr Evans was completely sober and driving under the speed limit, but his ‘inexperience’ behind the wheel may have contributed to the tragedy.
PC Miller said: “As the Corsa got to the brow of the hill an oncoming vehicle was coming down, it appears that the driver (Mr Evans) may have been startled and took evasive action which took him across the grass verge on the near side.
“Once back on the road it rotated to the right.”
PC Miller added that an “over reaction” steer put the Corsa in a collision course with the Jaguar XS, whose owner, Paul Armitage, told the inquest that he had three seconds to react before there was a “massive impact”.
Mr Armitage, who suffered broken ribs and a crushed sternum in the crash, said: “It all happened very quickly, it was a shock.
“I often pass by there now and they are often in my thoughts.”
The inquest heard that defects with Mr Evans’ car – an insufficient tread depth on one tyre and a leaky valve on another tyre – also contributed to the crash.
At the time of the collision Mr Evans, who was spotted earlier in the day driving the wrong way round a roundabout, had been a fully licensed driver for just three months.
Senior coroner Tom Osborne told the hearing that he would write to the Home Secretary to suggest restrictions on the amount of passengers new drivers can carry.
He said: “I do believe it was avoidable, it was an incident that could and should have been avoided.
“Luton has lost three young people who had their whole lives ahead of them.”