Families release crash video to prevent further speeding deaths

Technically Incorrect: Police say two young men were reportedly high on drugs, speeding at 90 mph and performing for the camera. Their families hope a cell phone video of the crash will save at least one life in the future.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

We've grown accustomed to public service announcements that try to stop us from behaving irresponsibly.

We know we shouldn't drink and drive. We know we shouldn't text and drive. Yet no matter how often governments and companies like AT&T try to find ways to make us think, some of us still don't.

A scene from a video release by the families of two crash victims in hopes of preventing further such speeding deaths. YouTube screenshot by CNET

Perhaps it's partly because, in the end, we know that the protagonists in ads are actors.

The families of Michael Owen and Karl Careford want everyone to see the real thing. They want everyone to know how their sons died. So they agreed for a video of the events to be made public on Monday.

The Sussex Police released a report that said Owen, 21, and Careford, 20, were high on drugs in April as Careford drove them through country roads in Sussex, England.

While their Renault Clio sped along at 90 mph, Owen filmed the action on his cell phone.

He seemed to have some awareness of what was going on, as he told Careford: "You're doing 90 bruv, slow down."

Moments later, the car smashed into a church, and they were both instantly killed. But a cell phone video of the crash lives on.

"I really don't know why the boys chose to do what they did, but I blame them both for the decisions they made on this night," Owen's mother Kat said in the police report. "If all this stops one person from making the same mistake, then some good has come from showing this video."

Careford's brother Zac Hemming added: "This footage or anything of its kind should never be recorded, let alone watched. However, despite the pain of it being broadcast by the media, we as a family just hope and pray that this will connect with at least one person out there, young or old, so that no-one ever has to experience the unthinkable pain of losing someone so close and dearly loved."

The police explained that the video was shown last week at the inquest, a legal preceding in which the cause of death is released. They said that the two men were wearing seat belts but that the car rolled over several times after impact. Witnesses reportedly said they had seen the car doing "donuts."

Can the vivid and painful experiences of real people, recorded on cell phones, prevent at least one person from doing something irrevocable?

Can the reality of seeing a cell phone video that depicts exactly what happened stop one mind from getting out of control?

At the time of writing, more than 202,000 people have already viewed the YouTube footage, so all anyone can do is hope.