21-year-old who lost control of car in Wakefield was being followed by police, inquest told

Tributes to 21-year-old Jamie Smith
Tributes to 21-year-old Jamie Smith

A 21-year-old man who died after losing control of a BMW was being followed by police at the time his car crashed, an inquest was told.

Jamie Smith was thrown from the vehicle he was driving after it hit bollards at Heath Common at around 11.20pm on April 30.

The incident has been referred to West Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards department, an inquest opening at Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard this morning.

The department assesses and coordinates any complaints made about the conduct of the force’s officers and staff.

Mr Smith, of Cross Road, Middlestown, Wakefield was being followed by two officers in a marked police vehicle, the hearing was told.

Police witnessed a grey BMW travelling “at high speed” towards Wakefield. Officers followed the vehicle to try and speak to the driver, the inquest heard.

But the BMW lost control on Black Road, at the junction with Hell Lane, and collided with six bollards and a boulder.

Paramedics attended and pronounced Mr Smith dead at 11.42pm.

Sergeant Ann Drury, of the major collision and enquiry team, is leading the investigation into the cause of the incident.

In an appeal last week, she said: “Our investigations are ongoing into what has clearly been a very serious incident on the district’s roads.

“We would like to speak with anyone who saw the grey BMW heading from Normanton to Wakefield before the crash or who saw the collision.”

She also appealed for dashcam or CCTV footage of the incident.

Police said Mr Smith’s passenger, also 21 and from the Wakefield area, suffered minor injuries.

The road was closed for almost eight hours while investigations were carried out.

A preliminary cause of death was given at this morning’s inquest as a head injury due to a road traffic collision.

Coroner Jonathan Leach adjourned the inquest pending the outcome of further enquiries.