THE driver of a car involved in a crash near Winchester which killed him and his passenger was over the alcohol and cocaine drive limit and did not hold a full driving licence.

Thomas Matthew Price, 22, and Luke John Gething, 20, both died after the Ford Fiesta the former was driving collided with a tree at a speed in excess of 90mph and ended up in a field next to the B3404 Alresford Road, near Morn Hill, on April 25.

An inquest at Winchester Coroner’s Court heard Mr Price had been driving the car, which he borrowed from Mr Gething’s girlfriend Michaela van Reenen without her knowledge, on the wrong side of the road towards a bus being driven by Patrick Turley.

A statement by Mr Turley read out at the hearing said it appeared both occupants of the car were laughing and then the car swerved aggressively back on to the correct side of the road shortly before 6.30am.

As the Ford went past the bus it mounted the kerb of the nearside footpath before the driver lost control of the vehicle, which travelled across the road, through a grass verge and into a tree, the inquest heard.

Collision investigator PC Tony Clifford said the panels on the passenger side of the car were ripped off and the car completed a full spin before it came to rest in the field.

PC Clifford said Mr Price only held a provisional driving licence and had not been wearing a seatbelt but Mr Gething, who had also been drinking and taken cocaine, had his seatbelt on. Nevertheless, both occupants of the car were thrown out of the vehicle due to the force of the collision and subsequent spin.

The speedometer in the car had frozen at a speed of around 96 to 97mph. PC Clifford told the hearing based on estimations the car was travelling faster than 90mph but an exact speed could not be determined.

Ben Allen, who had been driving behind the Fiesta, said it appeared the vehicle “exploded” in the field with debris all over the area.

Mr Price had an alcohol toxicity level of 167mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 2.1 times the legal driving limit, and a cocaine level above the legal driving limit was also found.

“Witness evidence suggests the vehicle was being driven erratically,” said PC Clifford.

“Trying to control a vehicle at that speed is a skill in itself.”

A statement from Ms van Reenen said Mr Price, of Baverstocks, Alton, and Mr Gething, of Longcroft, Bentley, had met for the first time on the evening of April 24 through mutual friends and they all stayed at her friend’s house near Alton College.

When she woke up the following morning, Mr Price and Mr Gething were not there and her car had gone.

Mr Gething died at the scene, while Mr Price died at Southampton General Hospital.

Post mortems carried out by Dr Adnan Al-Badri on both men provided their causes of death as severe multiple injuries due to a road traffic collision.

Recording conclusions of road traffic collision, senior coroner Grahame Short said: “CCTV footage (from the bus) shows that just before the crash the car was travelling at an excessive speed.

“Speed was a major factor in what happened.”

“The Fiesta was, at one point, being driven on the wrong side of the road,” he added. “There is no apparent reason for this. It was a straight road with little traffic on it at the time.

“As it got back to the correct side of the road, the driver lost control as PC Clifford explained.”