[P]olice have released footage of two cars racing each other at speeds of up to 124mph – moments before one of the drivers crashed his car and was killed.
Ryan Charlton, 23, and Mohammed Abdul-Wahid, 32, were driving at high speeds on the southbound carriageway of the A1 near to the Angel of the North at around 5am on Sunday, April 19, 2015.
But as they reached the Bowes incline Ryan lost control of his Honda Civic Type R – causing it to flip onto its roof before it eventually came to a halt.
The two men did not know each other and Mohammed fled the scene in his VW Golf R32 as emergency services attended the scene.
Sadly Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of paramedics and his vehicle was left in a crumpled heap.
Officers launched an investigation and were later able to track down Mohammed and arrested him in connection with the incident that claimed Ryan’s life.
He was charged for the offences and was today Friday, August 5, jailed for five years six months at Newcastle Crown Court after being found guilty of death by dangerous driving and a separate charge of being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
Now Northumbria Police have released footage of the two drivers on the night of the incident in a bid to warn others of the consequences of driving at high speeds.
Chief Inspector John Heckels, of the Operations Department, said: “We know the two drivers involved were car enthusiasts and we know that this type of behaviour does take place on our roads.
“Since we set up the Op Dragoon team we have developed long-lasting relationships with the car enthusiast community and the vast majority of them are responsible drivers who simply have a passion for motor vehicles.
“We will continue to work with that community to try and prevent this type of tragedy from happening in our region but we know that people of all ages and backgrounds are often guilty of dangerous driving.
“Our message is that this could happen to anyone if they don’t respect the road and don’t respect those other motorists who are using it. If you break the law our Op Dragoon team will find you and put you before the courts.
Senior investigating officer, Inspector Paul McIntosh added:”Everyone at Northumbria wants to pass on their condolences to Ryan’s family. Their lives will never be the same again and they have shown incredible strength and courage for the duration of this case.”
Ryan, of Lowfell, Gateshead, will be deeply missed by his family who said his death was the “hardest thing that has ever happened to us as a family”. They have now urged other young drivers to take more care on the roads.
A family spokesperson said: “We hope as a family that this case has brought to the attention of people just how dangerous speeding is. Speed limits are there for a reason. You don’t think when you’re driving at excessive speed just how devastating the consequences can be.
“You think you’re in control, you might be, but you don’t know what another driver will do as we’ve found out to our cost. You never think it will happen to you. You may think you’re invincible….well you’re not!
“Ask us and we will tell you what it’s like to lose a loved one, someone so precious, it’s devastating yet we have to live with it the rest of our lives. Losing Ryan has been the hardest thing that has ever happened to us as a family. We miss him every day. His smile, his laugh his sense of humour and his presence.
“We would like to say is how much of a struggle every day is without Ryan he was a huge part of our family that’s now empty. We would also like to thank family and friends who have supported us.
“We would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all Northumbria Police Motor Patrols officers involved in bringing the case to a satisfactory close, especially PC Steve Malt and PC Dave Parker.
“We also wish to express a special thanks to PC Gary Morris, our Family Liaison Officer, without whose support we would have struggled day to day.”
Northumbria Police’s Op Dragoon team aim to tackle dangerous driving in the north east and they also work closely with the car enthusiast community.
If you have any information you want to share with the Op Dragoon team, or want advice about how to stay safe on our roads, then contact them by calling 101.