Fatal horse crash victim had ‘heart of gold’

Stephen Smith, of Toll Bar, with his fiancee Sophie Midgley and their daughter Maddison.
Stephen Smith, of Toll Bar, with his fiancee Sophie Midgley and their daughter Maddison.
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A devoted dad who died after his car crashed into a runaway horse has been described as a “lovely lad with a heart of gold”

Stephen Smith of Toll Bar, was badly hurt in a collision with the animal last month and died two weeks later. The runaway horse died at the scene of the crash in Moss Road, Askern.

Mr Smith, 22, a driver at a steel works, was engaged to marry his partner Sophie Midgley, 19. The couple had one daughter, Maddison, who turns two next month, with another child on the way.

Miss Midgley’s mother Gaynor said his family had been left “devastated” by the crash and were told by police that he had not gone his normal way to work in his Audi A4 before the accident at 6.05am on September 18.

She said: “He was not speeding or on his phone. He didn’t even swerve to miss the horse, the police officer told us.

“He wouldn’t even have seen it because it was that foggy. There were no swerve marks on the road. It would have just appeared there.”

Paying tribute to Mr Smith, a former pupil at Danum School, Mrs Midgley said: “He was a lovely lad, very hard-working and with a heart of gold. He would do anything for anyone. He idolised my daughter Sophie and their daughter Maddison.

“Sophie is 14 weeks pregnant with their second child. They were a lovely little family. They had their ups and downs, but Stephen worshipped the ground she walked on.

“When he proposed to her he was shaking like a leaf. It was fantastic. He was one of those people, he had a heart of gold. He loved life.

“He was not a drinker, his life was Maddison and Sophie. He didn’t care if anyone knew that. He was not a typical 22-year-old, going out drinking. It should just not have happened to him.

“Sophie has not accepted it yet, it has not hit her. I think it will hit her when we have the funeral, we don’t know when that will be because they haven’t released his body yet.”

Mrs Midgley said her daughter and Mr Smith were not living together but that he had planned to move into her home near Doncaster after Christmas.

She said: “He had just moved jobs and needed to get on top of things. That is the sad bit about it. So they could afford it he was living with his mum and they were living separately.

“He took Maddison to the park every night, that was the nightly routine. He would get home from work, he would have his tea with Maddison and then go to the park. It is like the little routine is all gone. Luckily Maddison is far too young to understand.”

Tributes have been paid to Mr Smith on Facebook after his death last week. Jordan Stringfellow, who runs a popular channel on video sharing website YouTube, wrote that he was contacted by Mrs Midgley after the accident. He said: “I got a message off a lady explaining he was a massive fan of me and had been in a car accident. A horse was wandering the road on a country lane and he hit it.

“He suffered bad head injuries and ended in a coma. He has a little daughter, a beautiful fiancée and a baby on the way. The lady asked me to write on his wall, so when he comes around it would cheer him up.

“Yesterday, she messaged me saying he lost his fight and had passed away. I am so gutted and upset.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash. Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.