Woman killed in collision caused by boyfriend ‘racing’ friends, court told
Keelan Tuke, 21, was driving at up to 98mph in a 50mph zone at the time of the crash in Lincolnshire in October 2021, jurors heard.
Four young men were “in it together” as they raced at high speeds along a Lincolnshire A road causing a collision which killed one of their partners, a court has heard.
Denii Reynolds died after sustaining “catastrophic injuries” in the crash on the A16 in Utterby, Lincolnshire, on October 26 2021, having been a passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend, Keelan Tuke.
The then-19-year-old Tuke was driving at a speed estimated to be between 75mph and 98mph when his car went across the road and collided with a vehicle driven by pensioner Margaret Williams, killing Ms Reynolds, 20, and seriously injuring Ms Williams.
Tuke, now 21, was driving a Citroen C1, leading a “convoy” of three other cars driven by Josh Dobb, Riley Duncombe and Keigan Launder, all of whom are on trial charged with causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.
Opening the trial at Lincoln Crown Court on Wednesday, prosecutor Jeremy Janes said: “All four of these defendants were effectively racing each other, along the A16, one behind the other, all doing grossly excessive speeds and to use the words of some of the witnesses, ‘up the arse’ of the car in front of them.
“The ordinary, competent driver does not use the A16 as a racetrack. The ordinary, competent driver does not drive ‘up the arse’ of the car in front.
“The way they had been driving, too fast, too close, bears all the hallmarks of competitive driving against each other in some sort of misplaced act of bravado.
“You have to choose to drive in that manner. No-one is making you do that and by choosing to do that, you have chosen to drive dangerously.
“There is a direct link between these four driving in that way as a group and the death of Denii Reynolds and the injuries, as serious as they were, to Margaret Williams. They were all in it together.
“If you all choose to race and compete with each other, it is not surprising that the vehicle in front of you is going to go a bit faster to stay ahead of you. You are all a cause of what happens if it goes wrong.
“They are all as bad as each other.”
Ms Williams suffered a shattered right foot, broken right leg and fractured ribs in the collision, which happened at around 9:45pm.
Images of her mangled Vauxhall Corsa and Tuke’s Citroen were shown to the jury of 10 men and two women as well as dashcam footage of the “convoy” taken from other cars.
Mr Janes said that the four defendants, who were friends, had driven from Cleethorpes to Louth, Lincolnshire, on the night of the incident and had a “cavalier approach” to driving and other road users.
Once arrived, they were seen to be behaving “antisocially” and were “pratting about”, Mr Janes said.
Behind Tuke on the return journey, Dobb, 21, was driving a Ford Fiesta van, Launder, 23, a Mercedes A-Class, and 19-year-old Duncombe a Ford Fiesta.
Later analysis found that at the time of the crash, Tuke was driving at speeds between 75mph and 98mph – the latter being the fastest the car could travel, according to its manufacturer – with the collision happening in a 50mph zone.
Dobb was estimated to be driving at between 89mph and 98mph.
Mr Janes said: “(Tuke) says he was but careless. We, the Crown, say that is to put it far too simply.
“We say, travelling at grossly excessive speeds on that road in that manner and ending up on the wrong side of the road can only be described as far below the standard we would expect from an ordinary, competent driver and can only be described as dangerous.
“Put simply, Mr Tuke was thrashing it, driving it at or just on the limits.”
Tuke, of Grafton Street, Grimsby, Duncombe, of Thesiger Walk, Grimsby, Launder, of Louth Road, Grimsby, and Dobb, of Hadleigh Road, Immingham, all deny the charges.
The trial continues.