Family of 21-year-old Sprowston man urge young people not to drink and drive, after inquest

Sam O'Leary. Pic Submitted.

Sam O'Leary. Pic Submitted. - Credit: Archant

The family of a 21-year-old Sprowston man who died in a road crash have urged other young people not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, after an inquest into his death.

Tributes to Sam O'Leary left at the scene where he died in a car crash on Wroxham Road, Sprowston

Tributes to Sam O'Leary left at the scene where he died in a car crash on Wroxham Road, Sprowston - Credit: Archant

Sam O'Leary, from Clover Road, died after the car he was driving crashed in Wroxham Road, between the Brickmakers roundabout and Fairstead Road, on March 28.

Yesterday's inquest in Norwich heard that Mr O'Leary was driving while above the legal drink-drive limit and cocaine was also found in his blood.

He had just overtaken several vehicles before the accident and was estimated to be travelling at about 50mph, 20mph above the speed limit.

Afterwards, the family said through a police officer that they wanted a message to get through to other young people that it was not safe to drive under the influence.

That same message was delivered by Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake at the inquest. After recording an accidental death conclusion, she said: 'The tragic circumstances of this death highlight the importance of driving safely without drinking alcohol above the legal limit and without taking drugs.'

The inquest heard that Mr O'Leary was with his friend Peter Berryman at the Maids Head pub in Old Catton, where he was seen to drink about two pints, before leaving with another friend, Leila Rooden. She was the front seat passenger in the car and Mr Berryman was in the back, when it crashed just after 11pm. The inquest heard that Mr O'Leary lost control of the Renault Clio car which hit a metal barrier, flipped over and came to rest on top of a garden wall in Wroxham Road.

Most Read

Motorist Karl Barwick, whose car was travelling in the opposite direction, said: 'I saw the car swerve, hit the barrier, rotate through the air and hit a wall, landing on its roof.'

The cause of death was given as severe traumatic head injury due to a road traffic collision. Toxicology was carried out and Mr O'Leary had 121mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, while the legal limit is 80mg.

Collision investigator Pc Paul Scott said it was likely that the amount of drink and drugs in his system 'would have affected his driving ability and decision making.' He also said that excessive speed was a factor in the crash.

Mr O'Leary was a former Sprowston High School pupil, who had worked for Masterseal specialist builder in Acle since July 2012, and was due to start an apprenticeship.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter