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MATES KILLED IN CRASH WITH OPEN TOP BUS; After collision double decker smashed into wall.

Byline: Sandish Shoker

TWO friends were killed when their car sped around a bend and crashed into an open top bus carrying tourists.

An inquest at the Warwickshire Justice Centre, in Leamington, heard how Michael "Mikey" Abdou and Michael "Mike" Dugmore died in the accident in Featherbed Lane, Pathlow, Stratford.

Tourists yesterday spoke of the shocking moment when the black Ford Fiesta crashed into the bus at about 3.15pm on January 14. Some were injured in the accident.

The red open top bus had been returning to Stratford after a visit to Mary Arden's Farm and the Fiesta was travelling in the opposite direction. The car smashed into the bus, causing the double decker to crash into a brick wall.

Mikey, 19, of Hockley Heath, Birmingham, and Mike, 21, of Wilmcote, near Stratford died at the scene from multiple injuries.

During the inquest, bus passenger Peter Pullen, of Preston, Lancashire, described how he heard loud screeching and then saw the car come racing around a bend seconds before hitting the bus.

Mr Pullen, who was sat on the top deck with his wife, told the coroner the bus had been travelling at no more than 30mph.

He said: "I just turned to talk to my wife when I heard a screech of tyres. I looked up and there was a black car coming sideways round the bend. I have never seen a car move so fast in my life."

The couple were thrown from their seats and Mrs Pullen broke her ankle.

Bus driver Geoffrey Nice said: "When I saw the car coming round the bend I thought to myself what a speed it was doing and then the driver lost control of the car. He was struggling to get back on his side of the road. The car just became a black blur and hit the bus in a matter of two seconds."

Mr Nice suffered a fractured leg in the accident. Evidence was also heard from PC Grant Dumbleton, crash investigator for Warwickshire Police, and Simon Tullet, a motorist who had passed the Ford Fiesta seconds before the crash.

PC Dumbleton told the coroner the bus driver "had little or no time to move or take action" on seeing the car. He also said Mike Dugmore, the passenger in the car, had not been wearing a seat belt and had been flung from the vehicle when it crashed.

John Buckley, assistant deputy coroner, concluded the Ford Fiesta had been travelling at speed round the bend and the two friends had died in a "tragic accident".

He said: "In terms of what happened we will never be completely sure of the facts. Michael Abdou and Michael Dugmore died as a result of a tragic accident.

"I don't believe I could bring any other verdict on what I have heard today. It is a tragic loss of two very young lives."

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PALS: Michael Abdou (left) and Michael Dugmore died in the accident
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 17, 2012
Words:495
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