Teen died after being thrown from car

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Safety features had been disabled on a car that crashed in Sudbury, causing fatal injuries to the teenage driver, an inquest heard.

Ryan Noakes, 18, of Cats Lane, Sudbury, was not believed to have been wearing a seatbelt when he was thrown from his car in Springlands Way on April 9. He suffered severe head and chest injuries.

An inquest in Bury St Edmunds on Monday was told that a fuse had been removed, disabling the anti-lock braking system and traction control of his Vauxhall Astra.

When Mr Noakes attempted to brake hard, the rear wheels locked and the car spun out of control on the approach to the junction with Melford Road, colliding with a sign.

Speaking at the inquest, accident investigator Pc Andy Fossey said it would have been evident to Mr Noakes that the two features had been disabled as a warning light was illuminated on the dashboard.

In a statement, friend Thomas Hinds told the hearing of the moments leading up to the accident after he and Mr Noakes left KFC in their separate cars and drove along Springlands Way at speeds of more than 70mph.

On the approach to the roundabout, Mr Hinds said his friend had been so close to the rear of his car that he was unable to see his headlights.

Mr Hinds said: “Seeing how close Ryan was behind me made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want him to hit the back of my car.”

Almost immediately, Mr Noakes lost control of his car, which left the road and struck a sign. He was found beside the car suffering from serious injuries and was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where he died on April 22.

Another friend, Nathan Game, said in a statement that he believed Mr Noakes had removed the ABS and traction control fuse to allow him to do wheel spins from a standing start.

A detailed police inspection of Mr Noakes’ car failed to pinpoint any defects that could have caused the accident.

Pc Fossey said he had found two tyre marks at the scene of the accident, indicating that the rear wheels of the Astra had locked up while the front wheels kept turning. The absence of the anti-lock system had caused the car to rotate.

When Mr Hinds began braking for the roundabout, it created an unexpected hazard for Mr Noakes because he was too close.

A post-mortem examination showed that Mr Noakes died from brain and chest injuries.

Assistant Suffolk coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone concluded that Mr Noakes’ death was the result of involvement in a road traffic accident.