Death smash driver had booze and drugs in system
Mum says ‘My whole world has just gone’
APOPULAR young man who died in an horrific road smash had downed vodka and taken cocaine before getting behind the wheel of his new powerful BMW, an inquest heard.
Kavana Taylor, 21, died in the early hours of Easter Sunday after the BMW 3 Series he was driving crashed into a Volkswagen Polo in Castleton.
An inquest into his death at North Manchester Coroners’ Court heard he was three-and-a-halftimes the drink drive limit and had traces of the Class A drug in his system.
Police said he was driving at more than 76mph in a 30mph zone - on the wrong side of the road when he smashed into an oncoming car on the brow of a hill.
Kavana wasn’t wearing his seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle.
He died at the scene after suffering severe multiple injuries, which were so catastrophic that his parents were not allowed to see him before he was laid to rest.
Now, despite their intense grief, Kavana’s devastated dad Ian and mum Claire have bravely decided to speak publicly to warn other young people off drinking and driving.
Ian, 55, spoke out after an emotional inquest hearing in Heywood, in the hope that knowing what happened to his son will deter other young people from doing the same thing.
“Me and his mum and his brothers and sisters will be affected for the rest of our lives,” he said.
“Drink played a major part in his death and I just want to put it out there, young people using vehicles as a party bus because that is what they are doing, and I know they are doing it every weekend, even after this- as soon as alcohol is brought into the car, or cocaine, there is going to be an accident.
“If my son’s death can prevent that...”
Motorbike enthusiast Kavana, who was a full time carer for his mum and was hoping to set up a businesses selling on cars, had only bought the 1.6 BMW 3 series days before he died.
The court heard that both his parents had urged him to drive carefully, and to be aware that the BMW was a ‘different drive’ to his previous car, a one litre front-wheel drive Toyota Auris.
In a statement to police after his death, Ian said: “I told him so many times not to drive dangerously. But he did, and we are left with this pain.
“I told him not to buy that car. It’s a different drive and a powerful engine.
“I’m so grateful he didn’t kill anyone else.”
Ian told the hearing that his son was in a good mood in the hours leading up to his death, and that it would have been very out of character for him to drink and drive, as he was not a big drinker.
The court heard that Kavana had picked up and dropped off two of his best friends earlier in the night, and they later told Ian that he hadn’t been drinking at that point.
At some point in the evening, Kavana and one other male passenger had gone to a petrol station and bought a bottle of vodka.
The pair had offered a lift to two female friends and picked them up at Yates in Rochdale, before Kavana drove out to Watergrove Reservoir in Wardle.
The women later told police that Kavana was driving fast, and on the wrong side of the road, while one reported seeing him drinking from the bottle of vodka while driving.
Concerned about his driving, one of the women took over driving, before going back to Yates.
PC Phil Shaw, of GMP’s serious collision investigation unit, told the hearing that Kavana had had a ‘minor collision’ where he drove into the back of a taxi in Rochdale town centre, around 20 minutes before the fatal crash.
Shortly afterwards, the car travelled to Manchester Road in Castleton, where it collided with the Polo, despite an attempt by the other driver to swerve out of the way.
The BMW ended up around 200 metres away from the site of the collision.
The front seat passenger who had been in the BMW at the time of the crash left the scene and ran off.
A post mortem examination found Kavana had an amount of cocaine in his blood consistent with ‘recreational’ use and 281 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80 micrograms.
Mum Claire, 39, says she lost her whole world when her son died, and is now urging other young people not to put their families through the same heartache.
She was in the early ●●A huge tribute to Kavana Taylor (inset) sprang up at the site of the fatal crash on Manchester Road in Castleton stages of pregnancy at the time of Kavana’s death and learned for the first time at the inquest that her eldest son had died at 1.38 - the same time she gave birth to her new baby six weeks ago.
She said: “Don’t put anyone’s parents through this. I’ve lost my whole world. My whole world has just gone.
“I died when he died. I’m never going to get over this. His brothers and sisters, they don’t cope, I’ve got a new baby who he is never going to meet.
“Please don’t drink and drive. Spare someone else’s family going through this.
“We have to live with this for the rest of our lives. He was a special person, to everyone. No one had a bad word to say about him.
“His funeral, I was a funeral director, and I’ve never seen a funeral as big as that, and I’ve conducted some funerals.
“His friends carry us though it. We see them near enough every day and I’ve made them all promise, don’t ever stop that. They keep him going.”
In the days after Kavana’s death, a huge shrine sprung up at the site of the crash, as his many friends and family members came to pay their respects.
He leaves behind two sisters and two brothers.
Ian added: “It’s affected his friends badly. “He wasn’t a drinker.
“Drink didn’t play any part in his life, except that one night, brought into that car.”
Coroner Julie Robertson recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
●●Kavana Taylor with mum Claire Taylor, who has now warned other young people against drinking and driving