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Maidstone: Drink drive campaign video reveals family's heartache following teen's death

The family of a teenage passenger killed in a horrific car crash have launched an emotional video appeal in support of Kent County Council's anti drink-driving campaign this winter.

Will Funnell, 19, died in August 2013 as he was being driven home from a night out in Maidstone.

Driver John Junior Forrest, 21, was almost three times the drink-drive limit and had traces of cocaine in his blood when he lost control of his car - killing himself and Will.

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Passenger Will Funnell died in a crash on Linton Hill

Passenger Will Funnell died in a crash on Linton Hill

An inquest into their deaths heard Mr Forrest’s Volkswagen Bora spun on to the opposite side of Linton Hill into the path of an oncoming 4x4 as he approached a bend at speeds of about 86mph.

In the video, Will’s father Peter breaks down and his grandmother Doreen fights back tears as they speak of the day a police officer told them their beloved son and grandson Will was dead.

Landscaper Peter, 52, and his mother hope their testimonies will make others in Kent think twice about drinking and driving or agreeing to take a lift with someone who they suspect may have been drinking this festive season. 

Video: Heartbroken family describe their pain

He said: “My wife Kate had got to the road block. The police had brought her up in her car. He said that William had died at 4am this morning… in a road traffic accident. Man I just dropped down.

“Will has gone. I will never be able to see him again, touch him, talk to him, do anything with him again – that’s it, he’s gone, just like that.

“We might only be four years down the line, but I can tell you now I miss him more every day, every week."

Peter Funnell breaks down as he speaks about his son

Peter Funnell breaks down as he speaks about his son

A total of 65 people died in crashes on Kent's roads between 2007 and 2016, compared to 52 in the previous 10 years.

Peter continued: “Imagine if you kill someone else, your family has then got that to deal with. Two of his closest friends can’t even speak about it.

“So in actual fact that number 65 doesn’t represent the amount of lives it’s ruined. 65 people paid the ultimate price.”

Will Funnell (left) was killed in 2013 when he was being driven by a drunk driver

Will Funnell (left) was killed in 2013 when he was being driven by a drunk driver

Doreen added: “It’s like a pebble in a pond, it ripples out, it changes all our lives. If you’re out and you think your driver’s been drinking, don’t get in the car. Get a taxi.

“Your parents will be better off answering the door and paying a taxi than later on getting a knock at the door and the police coming round later in the day to say that you’ve been killed in a car crash. You all have a choice. Unfortunately, Will, he made the wrong choice.”

Vicky Harvey from Kent County Council’s Road Safety Team said: “Over the last ten years, there have been 65 people killed on Kent’s roads as a result of drink driving.

Doreen Funnell opened up about losing her grandson in 2013.

Doreen Funnell opened up about losing her grandson in 2013.

"All of these deaths could have been prevented. Drivers cannot be sure of the effect drink is having on their reaction times and ability to drive, until it is too late.

"Even the smallest amount of alcohol will affect their ability to drive safely. The choice you make as to whether you drink and drive is a conscious decision; so make the right choice.

"Drivers must understand that they do not have to be drunk to be dangerous. Just one drink can increase the chances of them having a crash, sometimes with tragic consequences for the victims and their families.

"My message is simple; if you are driving just consider, is one drink worth it?”

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