Naveed Gill Fazal, who veered off Abbeydale Road South and through a boundary wall before plunging into the large mill pond behind Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet during the early hours of Saturday, May 19 last year, had also taken cannabis and was driving at over 60mph in a 40mph zone, Sheffield Coroner’s Court was told.
The trainee property developer, who lived on Ecclesall Road South, died that morning at the scene, where friends and family gathered 10 days later to release balloons on what would have been his 21st birthday.
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Dr Mike Orchard, of the serious collision investigation unit, today told the court that tests suggested the Vauxhall Corsa had been travelling at 'no less than 62mph' at the time of the collision, in which no other vehicles were involved.
The inquest heard how the car had been written off in an earlier accident, before being bought for Naveed by his father in March last year.
Dr Orchard said the suspension on the car had been damaged so badly prior to the fatal collision that the vehicle was rendered ‘unroadworthy’.
Professor Simon Suvarna, who carried out the autopsy, said water in Naveed's airways suggested he had died from drowning.
He told how tests indicated Naveed had taken cannabis in the hours before the crash, and the amount found in his body was above the legal driving limit.
"The ability to control a car would have been impeded by cannabis, and that has to be factored in somewhere into the cause of death," he added.
Naveed’s family raised concerns about a street light which had not been working that night and was partially obscured by overhanging vegetation, and they also asked whether narrowing that stretch of road to create extra parking had made it more dangerous.
The court heard the light had since been fixed and the vegetation cut back.
Dr Orchard said that although a ‘pool of darkness’ existed at that time and the central road markings had been moved neither was likely to have been a contributing factor since the car would already have been ‘out of control’ at that point.
PC Paul Lidster, who investigated the collision, said records showed there had only been one other collision in which someone was injured on that stretch during the past five years, which happened in 2014, but the family said there had been serious accidents in the years prior to that.
Nicholas Hetherington, network manager for Sheffield Council’s streets contractor Amey, said the boundary wall through which Naveed crashed had been assessed as ‘low risk’, despite there being a drop of up to 1.5 metres on the pond side.
Naveed’s father asked why an MOT test carried out at a Sheffield garage some five weeks before the crash had failed to pick up any serious defects.
Assistant coroner Abigail Combes adjourned the inquest, to resume at a date yet to be determined, so she could write to the garage asking for more details about the MOT test.
Naveed had been driving home from his uncle’s house near Dore, where they had broken their fast together during Ramadan, when he crashed at around 3.40am that morning.
An online shrine was created, with tributes describing the keen mixed martial arts fighter, who studied at Sheffield College before working for his father's property development business, as an ‘amazing’, ‘humble’ and ‘kind-hearted’ young man.
A fundraising appeal in Naveed’s memory raised nearly £8,000, which was matched by his family, enabling a number of wells to be built in impoverished parts of the world.
A family friend told at the time how nearly 5,000 people had attended his funeral, which she claimed was the biggest ever Muslim funeral held in Sheffield.