Jail for men who raced friends before fatal road crash

Kyle Bennett, left, and Latham Wilbraham have been jailed for six years each.

Two men have been sent to prison for six years each for their part in a high-speed crash which killed two of their friends on the A52 in Nottingham.

Father-of-three Gurdip Singh Kareer, 41, of Parkside Gardens, Wollaton, and Kyle O’Connor, 22, of Wollaton Vale, died at the scene after the car they were travelling in lost control and mounted the central reservation before hitting a lorry in the opposite carriageway. The car was destroyed after catching fire on impact.

O’Connor was driving and Kareer was a passenger in the Honda Civic Type R, which was travelling toward Nottingham on the A52 Derby Road between Bramcote Island and Priory Island when the crash happened at 7pm on Friday, November 25 last year.

It came moments after their car was seen close to a Skoda Fabia driven by Latham Wilbraham, 23, with Kyle Bennett, 25 as his passenger.

The court heard witnesses had seen the two cars racing each other at high speed between Priory Island and Bardills Island, performing repeated overtaking and undertaking of other vehicles, and ignoring several red traffic lights.

Shortly before the collision the Police were able to establish that the Honda was being driven at 93mph and the Skoda at 68mph, on the 40mph-limit stretch.

kyle o'connor-Gurdip Singh Kareer-nottingham-crash-a52
Kyle O’Connor (left) and Gurdip Singh Kareer (Right) died at the scene of the crash.

Witnesses saw the two men in the Skoda initially stop and get out after the collision, before getting back in their car and driving off.

After being arrested, Wilbraham told officers his ‘best two mates’ had died.

Wilbraham, of Newstead Way, Strelley, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop following a road traffic collision and failing to report a road traffic collision when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on October 19.

Bennett, of Cranwell Road, Strelley, admitted aiding and abetting causing death by dangerous driving at the same hearing.

The court was told Wilbraham was a learner driver and only had a provisional licence, and Bennett admitted he was there to supervise Wilbraham’s driving.

As well as the prison sentences, both men were banned from driving for eight years.

The crash happened on the A52 on the approach to the Priory Island roundabout. (Picture: Google)

Detective Sergeant Adam Cooper, of East Midlands Operational Support Service Serious Collision Investigation unit, said: “This case like many others dealt with by us involves the tragic and unexpected loss of life, where family and friends of those involved are left devastated and to deal with the aftermath. But like many other cases the deaths in this case were completely avoidable.

“The two men that were killed and the two that are now serving custodial sentences were all friends. Kyle O’Connor and Latham Wilbraham who was still only a learner, drove their respective cars in a manner that would be dangerous on the quietest of roads. The fact they did so on a busy urban route in a time where traffic was close to its peak showed complete disregard for the law and for the safety of both themselves, their passengers and other road users. Kyle Bennett seriously failed in the obligations placed on him as the supervisor of a learner driver. It is by luck that no one else was killed or seriously injured.

“The result of this driving is that two families are having to come to terms with the death of loved ones, and two other families are dealing with loved ones receiving lengthy prison sentences only a few weeks before Christmas.

“Dangerous driving on our roads will not be tolerated, as the consequences are only to too familiar. Anyone driving in such a manner can expect to face prosecution. I encourage everyone to challenge family and friends who drive outside the laws of the road in the hope that we can prevent further tragedies such as this.

“I would like extend thanks and praise to all those that witnessed the crash and the immediate aftermath and all of the emergency services that attended. The scene that faced them was one of utter devastation and nothing less than horrific but all demonstrated courage and professionalism.”