Flintshire tragedy after a night out

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A MOTORIST who was killed in a tragic car crash on Sealand Road was twice the drink-drive limit.

Carl Sutton, 26, had enjoyed a night out with friends in Chester before he got behind the wheel of his MG ZR car to drive home.

Mr Sutton, of Cheriton Close, Connah’s Quay, was pronounced dead at the scene after his car hit a tree near the Elms Hotel in the early hours of February 21.

The promising footballer, known as ‘Sooty,’ leaves behind parents Myra and Graham and brothers Colin and Dale.

An inquest in Flint yesterday heard Mr Sutton would often drink alcohol on a night out before driving home.

On this occasion he had parked his car on Bouverie Street, Chester, before visiting the George and Dragon pub in Liverpool Road, The Bouverie on Garden Lane and later Telford’s Warehouse, Tower Wharf.

Giving evidence, friend Matthew Wilcock, of Newton, Chester, said: “Carl knew he was welcome to stay at my house at the end of our nights out but sometimes he would drive home.

“I told him on numerous occasions not to drink-drive and a couple of times we managed to get his car keys from him.

“On this night we made no formal arrangement. Carl was drinking pints of lager and chatting to girls and dancing.

“At about 12.30am my girlfriend and I decided to leave but there was no way we could have persuaded Carl to leave too.

“He was drunk and happy and having a good time.”

A statement by friend Mark Anphlett said Mr Sutton was texting on his mobile phone for a lot of the night.

The last time he saw his friend was outside a nearby Spar store at 1.30am where he was chatting on his mobile phone.

An off-duty policeman returning home after a night shift at 3.40am discovered Mr Sutton’s crashed car. the driver was wearing a seatbelt.

PC Karl Allman said in a statement: “I was driving along Sealand Road when I noticed a car which had crashed into a tree out of the corner of my eye.

“The crash scene was horrific. The roof of the car has collapsed and all of the doors were bent and twisted.

“I was shocked to see a male in the driver’s seat. I felt his neck for a pulse and there was none.”

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Sutton had suffered a fractured skull and ribs in the crash.

Toxicology tests showed he was twice the drink-drive limit.

It is unclear at what time Mr Sutton crashed his car but 2cm of snow on the roof
indicated it was there for some time before it was discovered.

Forensic collision investigator Gareth Davies said there were no faults with the vehicle but the level of alcohol Mr Sutton had consumed would have hampered his ability to drive the vehicle safely.

Mr Sutton left Connah’s Quay High School at 16 and worked at Scott’s clothes shop in Chester before moving to Vauxhall Motors in Ellesmere Port as a driver.

- Mr Sutton was the second man to die on Sealand Road in a week.

On February 15, promising athlete Danny Evans, 18, of Connah’s Quay, died when the car he was travelling in overturned near Yew Tree Farm, about 100 yards from the Elms Hotel.

Friend Jack Hughes, 18, of Bryn Hyfryd, Connah’s Quay admitted causing death by careless driving without due care and attention.

Hughes was handed a one-year driving ban and ordered to do 100 hours community service.

See full story in the Leader

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