11 January 2001
Three teenagers killed in car smash
Thursday 11 Jan.2001. 8.45pm
A286 Easebourne, near Midhurst
Three young men were killed and another badly injured when a car left the road and hit a tree. The accident happened a few hundred yards north of Budgenor Lodge on the A286, Midhurst - Ferhurst road.
Those killed were Steven McGill, 18, of Taylor's Rise, Midhurst, Manh Hung La, 16, of Peter Weston Place, Chichester, and the driver 18-year-old Simon Ingham of Exton Road, Chichester. A fourth teenager James Smith, 18 was injured.
The following are reports from local newspapers issued after the incident.
The Argus Friday 12th Jan 2001
Death crash victims named
Police have named three teenage students who were killed when their car hit a tree.
The accident happened on the A286 at Easebourne, near Midhurst, last night when a red Vauxhall Nova came off the road. They all died instantly.
The one survivor of the tragedy, an unnamed passenger, was taken to St Richard's Hospital in Chichester with a broken nose and bruising.
The driver who died was 18-year-old Simon Ingham of Exton Road, Chichester. The two back seat passengers also killed were Steven McGill, 18, of Taylor's Rise, Midhurst, and Manh Hung La, 16, of Peter Weston Place, Chichester.
The accident happened at 8.45pm yesterday, 200 yards outside Easebourne village.
A man who saw the crash scene said "It was a real mess. I must have been about 30 seconds behind at the time and when I came over the brow of the hill saw that the car had hit a tree.
From the look of it they must have been travelling between 50mph and 60mph. It was ripped apart, crumpled at the foot of the tree. Two of the lads were still inside and one of them was lying at the edge of the bank a few feet away. The lad who was injured had blood all over his face, but he was walking around looking extremely shocked by the whole thing. He was eventually taken away by ambulance."
A police spokesman could not confirm reports that the driver only passed his test this week. He said "It is a tragedy that three young people have lost their lives in this way and there will be a detailed investigation."
Time to learn
published Saturday 13th Jan 2001.
Three teenagers have died in a terrible accident at Easebourne near Midhurst. A fourth youngster is recovering from his injuries.
The car, driven by an inexperienced motorist, spun out of control on a hill and crashed into a tree. An inquest will eventually decide on what caused this tragedy but driving conditions were good at the time with no rain or ice. It will add force to the arguments of those who say youngsters need a probationary period after learning to drive even after they have passed a test.
A disproportionate percentage of accidents occur when young drivers are involved. Any measures to reduce the shocking waste of lives, as in this case, must be seriously considered.
Teenagers killed in crash 48 hours after driver passes test
By Jason Bennetto
Published 13 January 2001
Death crash driver had just passed test
A teenager who died along with two college friends when he crashed his grandfather's car had only passed his driving test 48 hours earlier.
Simon Ingham, 18, was killed when the red Vauxhall Nova careered into a tree. The crash on the A286 at Easebourne, near Midhurst, also claimed the life of his best friend Sam Hung La, 16, whose parents run a Chinese takeaway in Chichester city centre. Also killed instantly was another back seat passenger, Steven McGill, 18, of Taylor's Rise, Midhurst, a fellow student at Chichester College of Arts Science and Technology.
An 18-year-old front-seat passenger escaped the wreckage with a broken nose and bruising. His name has not been released. The youngster will be questioned as part of an intensive investigation into the cause of the accident, which happened at 8.30pm on Thursday.
Simon's mother Ruth Ingham, 37, said "Simon and Sam were such close friends and they will probably be buried side by side." Mrs Ingham, of Exton Road, Chichester, told how Simon had passed his driving test on Tuesday at his first attempt. She said "We were all thrilled to bits for him and he was so pleased."
On Wednesday Simon, who was training to become an electrician, and Sam went to Brighton in the red Nova to look at music equipment. Simon had borrowed his grandfather Tom Ingham's car again on Thursday evening. He and his friends were on their way back to Chichester after visiting friends in Fernhurst when the car left the road and smashed into a tree. Mrs Ingham, who has another son, Patrick, 14, said "I don't think I have come to terms with it yet. We are all devastated but I have got a large family and they have all rallied round."
Yesterday cards sent to Simon for his 18th birthday on December 28 were still on display in the family home. Tom Ingham, 76, said: "He was probably a better driver than I am. He was very careful and competent."
Simon and Sam met as pupils at St Philip Howard High School at Barnham and became firm friends. Last night a member of staff at the Jasmine House takeaway in The Hornet at Chichester, which is run by Sam's parents Ngoc and Kitty La, said they were too upset to talk about the tragedy. The couple live in nearby Peter Weston Place and Sam is believed to have been taking a computer course at the college. A sign outside said the takeaway would be closed until further notice. A woman who was inside the building said: "They are in a deep state of shock."
Crash tragedy of newly-qualified driver
published Wednesday 25 Apr 2001.
A teenage driver crashed two days after passing his test, killing himself and two friends, an inquest heard today.
Simon Ingham, 18, was driving his friends around Midhurst in his grandfather's Vauxhall Nova on January 11 when he lost control and smashed into a tree. The crash killed Simon, of Exton Road, Chichester; Steven McGill, 18, of Taylors Rise, Midhurst; and 16-year-old computer student Manh Hung La, also known as Sam, of Fishbourne Road, Chichester.
Chichester Coroner's Court heard that the impact was so great it ripped the offside doors off the Vauxhall Nova.
The three young men, all students at Chichester College, died instantly in the accident on the A286 north of Easebourne. A fourth, James Smith, 18, escaped with a broken nose and cuts and bruises. He remembers nothing of the crash and is still receiving counselling, the court heard.
West Sussex assistant deputy coroner Martin Milward heard that Simon had started to increase his speed after a TVR car had passed him on the A286 just before Easebourne. The teenager then braked too late for a corner and hit the tree.
Mr Smith, the front seat passenger, said in a statement: "Simon's driving was smooth and confident. We didn't have any plans where we were going on that night, we just chatted about the car and Simon seemed really happy. "That was the last thing I remember as the next morning I woke up in hospital."
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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