Ribble Valley teen died after drink drive crash

Lancashire Telegraph: TRAGEDY: Matthew Alston was killed TRAGEDY: Matthew Alston was killed

THE devastated parents of a teenager who died after crashing his car while twice the drink drive limit have urged others not to repeat his 'grave mistake'.

Matthew Alston, 18, from Simonstone, went to bed at 5.30am after a party, but couldn’t sleep and decided to go for a drive just 90 minutes later.

Shortly after his black Vauxhall Corsa was seen speeding in Whalley Road, Read, before losing control and smashing into a Seat Toledo travelling in the opposite direction.

Matthew was killed instantly. Two off-duty police officers in the Seat Toledo, Deborah Butterworth and Neil Munro, escaped with minor injuries.

Speaking after an inquest yesterday, Matthew’s parents Janet and Andrew said young drivers needed to be aware of the dangers of alcohol.

And they urged people not to judge Matthew on the ‘last few hours of his life’, but remember a popular, fantastic person, who was both academically and athletically talented.

They said Matthew would have been the first to ‘stand up’ and apologise for the ‘hurt and trauma’ he had caused.

Mr Alston, 44, said: "Tragically Matthew made a grave mistake following a night out with friends in Burnley.

"This sequence of events was totally out of the ordinary.

"Those who have never met Matthew will form opinions based on the last few hours of his life.

"However those of us who had the privilege of knowing and loving him knew what a fantastic, young person he was who lived his life to the full, had a great work ethic was caring and thoughtful with a wicked sense of humour.

"He made a positive difference to many, and would have continued to do so if he was with us today. Sadly he has gone too soon."

Matthew's parents backed the Lancashire Telegraph Wasted Lives campaign, which has fought to stop the carnage of young people on our roads.

Mr Alston said: "As parents we have experienced a heartbreaking loss that we do not want any other family to go through.

"If Matthew was here today he would stand up and apologise to everyone for the hurt and trauma he had caused, particularly to the occupants of the other car, the emergency services, family and friends, accepted the consequences and learnt from it never to repeat the actions again.

"So on his behalf we are aiming to work in partnership with the police and local road safety campaigns such as ‘Wasted Lives’ in getting the message across to all young drivers the need to be aware of the effects of alcohol on driving particular the morning after and its devastating effects on lives.

"In the words of one of Matthews’s closest friends we have all learnt from the mistake that he has made, and the silence that his death has left has had a greater effect on us all than any words could have had."

On Saturday August 14, Matthew had held a party at the family home in Scott Avenue for around 10 of his friends whilst his parents were away for the weekend, the inquest was told.

He went to bed at around 5.30am but did not manage to sleep.

Giving evidence at the inquest, his friend Emily Scotland said: "Matthew was his usual self – BIG DASH joking, laughing and the centre of attention.

“I am not sure what he was drinking but it was alcoholic."

Matthew left his house just before 7am without telling anyone where he was going.

And at 7.10am, witnesses said the Vauxhall Corsa was ‘speeding’ along Whalley Road when it careered into the centre of the road, spun out of control and smashed into a Seat Toledo travelling in the opposite direction.

Shaun Faraday, a cyclist who witnessed the crash, said: "A car overtook me and then a couple of seconds later I heard a massive bang and there was smoke and bits of cars flying everywhere.

"I went to the black Corsa and saw the driver lying horizontally across the seat. I felt for a pulse but couldn't feel one and then I called the emergency services."

A post mortem examination showed Matthew had taken mephedrone and cannabis and was more than twice the drink drive limit before the crash.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Michael Singleton told the inquest that Matthew he died as a result of multiple injuries.

He said: "Matthew was under the influence of alcohol and recreational drugs and he was driving in the direction of Whalley when he lost control of his vehicle causing it to go onto the opposite side of the road and collide with an oncoming vehicle. He sustained immediate fatal injuries.

"It is a parent’s worst nightmare and I cannot begin to imagine the grief."

Matthew, a keen rugby player who represented the Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Town team had gained 10 GCSEs and four A'levels and was planning to study International Business Studies at Northumbria University.

He also leaves a younger brother, Hayden.

Comments (16)

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11:14am Thu 25 Nov 10

BOOBYDOO says...

Only bigoted and narrow minded people would pass judgement on this young man.
It could have been any teenager in a weak moment
He sounded a popular young man .
I do not suppose for one minute he set out to hurt anyone, but he has paid the ultimate price.
By backing the campaign maybe his parents will get some comfort in preventing another wasted loss of life.
My heart goes out to Matthews family.
Only bigoted and narrow minded people would pass judgement on this young man. It could have been any teenager in a weak moment He sounded a popular young man . I do not suppose for one minute he set out to hurt anyone, but he has paid the ultimate price. By backing the campaign maybe his parents will get some comfort in preventing another wasted loss of life. My heart goes out to Matthews family. BOOBYDOO

11:28am Thu 25 Nov 10

NUMBER5 says...

It is too easy to judge people when we read something like this. By the sounds of things Matthew was a popular young man and probably sensible most of the time. Such a shame that a moments madness resulted in his death. RIP Matthew. My thoughts are with your family who must be devastated. xxx
It is too easy to judge people when we read something like this. By the sounds of things Matthew was a popular young man and probably sensible most of the time. Such a shame that a moments madness resulted in his death. RIP Matthew. My thoughts are with your family who must be devastated. xxx NUMBER5

12:09pm Thu 25 Nov 10

ponders says...

Mephedrone is a stimulant & that would be why Matthew couldn't sleep (quite apart from all the other stuff buzzing round his system).
Tragic for everybody concerned & I hope other young people - not just drivers - really will learn something from this terrible accident.
Much sympathy to his family & friends.
Mephedrone is a stimulant & that would be why Matthew couldn't sleep (quite apart from all the other stuff buzzing round his system). Tragic for everybody concerned & I hope other young people - not just drivers - really will learn something from this terrible accident. Much sympathy to his family & friends. ponders

12:22pm Thu 25 Nov 10

ste.g says...

BOOBYDOO wrote:
Only bigoted and narrow minded people would pass judgement on this young man.
It could have been any teenager in a weak moment
He sounded a popular young man .
I do not suppose for one minute he set out to hurt anyone, but he has paid the ultimate price.
By backing the campaign maybe his parents will get some comfort in preventing another wasted loss of life.
My heart goes out to Matthews family.
couldnt have put it better mtself my sincere condolences to his parents,what a tragic waste of someone so young.rip young man.
[quote][p][bold]BOOBYDOO[/bold] wrote: Only bigoted and narrow minded people would pass judgement on this young man. It could have been any teenager in a weak moment He sounded a popular young man . I do not suppose for one minute he set out to hurt anyone, but he has paid the ultimate price. By backing the campaign maybe his parents will get some comfort in preventing another wasted loss of life. My heart goes out to Matthews family.[/p][/quote]couldnt have put it better mtself my sincere condolences to his parents,what a tragic waste of someone so young.rip young man. ste.g

1:03pm Thu 25 Nov 10

slammer says...

Very tragic and sad indeed.
Tanked up to the eyeballs and high as a kite in charge of a ton or so of metal.
It's a miracle nobody else was killed, even an 18-year old should know what can happen.
Young combined with stupid have always been a good recipe for tragedy.
On the other hand I wonder how many of us who got through puberty alive owe their lives to sheer dumb luck.
I know I do.
Very tragic and sad indeed. Tanked up to the eyeballs and high as a kite in charge of a ton or so of metal. It's a miracle nobody else was killed, even an 18-year old should know what can happen. Young combined with stupid have always been a good recipe for tragedy. On the other hand I wonder how many of us who got through puberty alive owe their lives to sheer dumb luck. I know I do. slammer

1:21pm Thu 25 Nov 10

Bramley Meade Boy says...

BOOBYDOO wrote:
Only bigoted and narrow minded people would pass judgement on this young man.
It could have been any teenager in a weak moment
He sounded a popular young man .
I do not suppose for one minute he set out to hurt anyone, but he has paid the ultimate price.
By backing the campaign maybe his parents will get some comfort in preventing another wasted loss of life.
My heart goes out to Matthews family.
I'd have thought all those who were told to wait until after the inquest to pass judgement now deserve their chance to comment, or is it that every article that appears on the LET site only allowed to be commented on in a sympathetic manner?
[quote][p][bold]BOOBYDOO[/bold] wrote: Only bigoted and narrow minded people would pass judgement on this young man. It could have been any teenager in a weak moment He sounded a popular young man . I do not suppose for one minute he set out to hurt anyone, but he has paid the ultimate price. By backing the campaign maybe his parents will get some comfort in preventing another wasted loss of life. My heart goes out to Matthews family.[/p][/quote]I'd have thought all those who were told to wait until after the inquest to pass judgement now deserve their chance to comment, or is it that every article that appears on the LET site only allowed to be commented on in a sympathetic manner? Bramley Meade Boy

1:48pm Thu 25 Nov 10

In my opinion...... says...

You are right Bramley Meade Boy and BOOBYDOO it is not bigoted and narrow minded to pass judgement now that the facts are known because this young man (he wasn't a child) through the grace of God only ended up killing himself. Whilst I sympathise for the family and their loss I have no sympathy whatsoever for Matthew, he knew what he was doing when he chose to drive and we are lucky that Shaun Faraday, Deborah Butterworth and Neil Munro's lives were not cut short that morning either.
You are right Bramley Meade Boy and BOOBYDOO it is not bigoted and narrow minded to pass judgement now that the facts are known because this young man (he wasn't a child) through the grace of God only ended up killing himself. Whilst I sympathise for the family and their loss I have no sympathy whatsoever for Matthew, he knew what he was doing when he chose to drive and we are lucky that Shaun Faraday, Deborah Butterworth and Neil Munro's lives were not cut short that morning either. In my opinion......

2:57pm Thu 25 Nov 10

useyourhead says...

Mephadrone is being taken by a lot more youngsters than people are aware of, one of the effects is that you can drink copious quantities of alchohol and not 'feel' drunk, perhaps he was under the mis-aprehension that because he felt sober, he was!
-
I know first hand because my children have both had a problem with it in the past (thankfully) and they reported to me that they could quite easily drink a bottle of vodka and still feel sober while on 'bubble'.
-
my heart goes out to his family, I am thankful everyday for the fact it could have been us facing this just as easily.
Mephadrone is being taken by a lot more youngsters than people are aware of, one of the effects is that you can drink copious quantities of alchohol and not 'feel' drunk, perhaps he was under the mis-aprehension that because he felt sober, he was! - I know first hand because my children have both had a problem with it in the past (thankfully) and they reported to me that they could quite easily drink a bottle of vodka and still feel sober while on 'bubble'. - my heart goes out to his family, I am thankful everyday for the fact it could have been us facing this just as easily. useyourhead

3:15pm Thu 25 Nov 10

Ian_G says...

Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I too think the young man made a huge mistake that could have cost the lives of more people than himself.

However, his parents, family and friends are using this incredibly sad event to publicise why youngsters should be very, very careful and not repeat the mistake that Matthew made.

I think they should be applauded for their courage and their concern for other young people.
Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I too think the young man made a huge mistake that could have cost the lives of more people than himself. However, his parents, family and friends are using this incredibly sad event to publicise why youngsters should be very, very careful and not repeat the mistake that Matthew made. I think they should be applauded for their courage and their concern for other young people. Ian_G

3:51pm Thu 25 Nov 10

The Curator says...

Why don't we all just leave this poor lad and his grieving family to rest in peace , rather than keep pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case .
Fair play to Matthew's parents for getting involved with the Wasted Lives campaign .
R.I.P.
Why don't we all just leave this poor lad and his grieving family to rest in peace , rather than keep pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case . Fair play to Matthew's parents for getting involved with the Wasted Lives campaign . R.I.P. The Curator

5:53pm Thu 25 Nov 10

The Curator says...

Bramley Meade Boy ,The Wasted Lives Campaign is not just about stopping younger drivers driving at night and Matthew's parents involvement in this is a lovely thing to do .As i said in my previous post ,. its time for you and others to stop pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case .
R.I.P. Matthew . Bramley Meade Boy if you have got some anti drink /drug issues ,please find some other place to express yourself .Maybe join some group/campaign etc and do something constructive to help.
Bramley Meade Boy ,The Wasted Lives Campaign is not just about stopping younger drivers driving at night and Matthew's parents involvement in this is a lovely thing to do .As i said in my previous post ,. its time for you and others to stop pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case . R.I.P. Matthew . Bramley Meade Boy if you have got some anti drink /drug issues ,please find some other place to express yourself .Maybe join some group/campaign etc and do something constructive to help. The Curator

6:21pm Thu 25 Nov 10

Bramley Meade Boy says...

The Curator wrote:
Bramley Meade Boy ,The Wasted Lives Campaign is not just about stopping younger drivers driving at night and Matthew's parents involvement in this is a lovely thing to do .As i said in my previous post ,. its time for you and others to stop pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case .
R.I.P. Matthew . Bramley Meade Boy if you have got some anti drink /drug issues ,please find some other place to express yourself .Maybe join some group/campaign etc and do something constructive to help.
This is a public forum covering a story in which a driver who was drunk and under the influence of drugs drove at speed through a village and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. If you don't like views contrary to your own I suggest that you are the one that moves on. Too many topics are hijacked by people who want to stifle debate either one way or the other.
[quote][p][bold]The Curator[/bold] wrote: Bramley Meade Boy ,The Wasted Lives Campaign is not just about stopping younger drivers driving at night and Matthew's parents involvement in this is a lovely thing to do .As i said in my previous post ,. its time for you and others to stop pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case . R.I.P. Matthew . Bramley Meade Boy if you have got some anti drink /drug issues ,please find some other place to express yourself .Maybe join some group/campaign etc and do something constructive to help.[/p][/quote]This is a public forum covering a story in which a driver who was drunk and under the influence of drugs drove at speed through a village and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. If you don't like views contrary to your own I suggest that you are the one that moves on. Too many topics are hijacked by people who want to stifle debate either one way or the other. Bramley Meade Boy

6:29pm Thu 25 Nov 10

mys says...

Firsly may i say,rip to this young man,he did something stupid that day(havent we all at some point)he's paid the price with losing his life,thankfully he didnt take anyone else's with him,i dont see why people have to turn everything on here into a conflict,for god sake keep your sad pathetic comments to yourselfs and let the family grieve for there son,we all know what happend so leave the lad alone,just be thankfull no other innocent person was killed.
Firsly may i say,rip to this young man,he did something stupid that day(havent we all at some point)he's paid the price with losing his life,thankfully he didnt take anyone else's with him,i dont see why people have to turn everything on here into a conflict,for god sake keep your sad pathetic comments to yourselfs and let the family grieve for there son,we all know what happend so leave the lad alone,just be thankfull no other innocent person was killed. mys

7:48pm Fri 26 Nov 10

The Mouth says...

Drink and drugs – let’s not beat about the bush, it’s a lethal combination. I am just so glad that I was driving along that road with my 6 year old innocent daughter in the car, half an hour later than half an hour earlier. Hummm lets picture the headlines if he had killed someone, other than himself.
Drink and drugs – let’s not beat about the bush, it’s a lethal combination. I am just so glad that I was driving along that road with my 6 year old innocent daughter in the car, half an hour later than half an hour earlier. Hummm lets picture the headlines if he had killed someone, other than himself. The Mouth

11:13pm Sun 28 Nov 10

bernard righton says...

Bramley Meade Boy wrote:
The Curator wrote: Bramley Meade Boy ,The Wasted Lives Campaign is not just about stopping younger drivers driving at night and Matthew's parents involvement in this is a lovely thing to do .As i said in my previous post ,. its time for you and others to stop pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case . R.I.P. Matthew . Bramley Meade Boy if you have got some anti drink /drug issues ,please find some other place to express yourself .Maybe join some group/campaign etc and do something constructive to help.
This is a public forum covering a story in which a driver who was drunk and under the influence of drugs drove at speed through a village and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. If you don't like views contrary to your own I suggest that you are the one that moves on. Too many topics are hijacked by people who want to stifle debate either one way or the other.
The whole purpose of a public forum is to encourage debate - and for people to offer their opinions and views.
'
Surely to stifle this debate is contrary to the sole being of the forum?
'
With the greatest of respect we aren't reading this just to post sympathy messages but to profer an opinion on the events as reported?
'
Of course it is deeply sad and tragic, and i'm sure all will empathise with Matthews family and friends - but surely the whole situation warrants discussion, teenage drivers, drink driving, and drug driving
'
My only angle is that nothing should be posted that would offend any of Matthews family or friends - surely if one person reads the report and all the posts and thinks twice about having a smoke or another drink before driving home it's a positive thing?
[quote][p][bold]Bramley Meade Boy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Curator[/bold] wrote: Bramley Meade Boy ,The Wasted Lives Campaign is not just about stopping younger drivers driving at night and Matthew's parents involvement in this is a lovely thing to do .As i said in my previous post ,. its time for you and others to stop pouring over the details of this dreadfully sad case . R.I.P. Matthew . Bramley Meade Boy if you have got some anti drink /drug issues ,please find some other place to express yourself .Maybe join some group/campaign etc and do something constructive to help.[/p][/quote]This is a public forum covering a story in which a driver who was drunk and under the influence of drugs drove at speed through a village and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. If you don't like views contrary to your own I suggest that you are the one that moves on. Too many topics are hijacked by people who want to stifle debate either one way or the other.[/p][/quote]The whole purpose of a public forum is to encourage debate - and for people to offer their opinions and views. ' Surely to stifle this debate is contrary to the sole being of the forum? ' With the greatest of respect we aren't reading this just to post sympathy messages but to profer an opinion on the events as reported? ' Of course it is deeply sad and tragic, and i'm sure all will empathise with Matthews family and friends - but surely the whole situation warrants discussion, teenage drivers, drink driving, and drug driving ' My only angle is that nothing should be posted that would offend any of Matthews family or friends - surely if one person reads the report and all the posts and thinks twice about having a smoke or another drink before driving home it's a positive thing? bernard righton

11:58am Tue 7 Dec 10

sackthegov says...

It is sad that this young man lost his life but at the end of the day he took the drugs he drunk the drink and he drove the car.
.
As for the officers who received 'minor' injuries I know one personally and that officer will not be back at work for a long time to come and once the physical scars have gone the mental ones will still be there - these officers are parents with young children - their children have had to come to terms with the fact that they nearly lost their parent as have their spouses and their family members - they were on their way home from work - they had not been drinking or taking drugs but their lives have permanently altered because of this incident so please spare a thought for them too
.
yes it is awful the lad died but he was master of his own destination that morning and ultimately became master of the police officers lives when he chose to get in that car
.
I do feel for his parents - I have sons myself and have no idea how I would feel losing one of them but my sympathy for them will never allow me to excuse what the boy did
It is sad that this young man lost his life but at the end of the day he took the drugs he drunk the drink and he drove the car. . As for the officers who received 'minor' injuries I know one personally and that officer will not be back at work for a long time to come and once the physical scars have gone the mental ones will still be there - these officers are parents with young children - their children have had to come to terms with the fact that they nearly lost their parent as have their spouses and their family members - they were on their way home from work - they had not been drinking or taking drugs but their lives have permanently altered because of this incident so please spare a thought for them too . yes it is awful the lad died but he was master of his own destination that morning and ultimately became master of the police officers lives when he chose to get in that car . I do feel for his parents - I have sons myself and have no idea how I would feel losing one of them but my sympathy for them will never allow me to excuse what the boy did sackthegov

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