A couple learned their son had died in a collision on his own street after family members saw social media posts about the incident.
Paul Hotson’s worst fears were confirmed when he arrived at the scene in Cromwell Crescent, Pontefract, in the early hours of yesterday to find the area cordoned off.
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The BMW X5 which son Jason had been driving in recent weeks is understood to have collided with a parked Peugeot and Hyundai just after 11.20pm on Monday night.
It came to a rest after rolling in the carriageway, causing fatal injuries to the 35-year-old father-of-three.
Paul, 57, said: “My daughter found out through social media. I went up and saw the collision and I had to walk away. I knew it was him straight away, as soon as I saw the car.
“My wife went up afterwards. They were taking photos of my son in the middle of the road.
“They told her that unfortunately he had passed away, they were taking him to the morgue and they would get a liaison officer to us as soon as possible in the morning.”
Paul said he returned to the scene himself at around 6.30am yesterday to find the police cordon gone and blood left on the pavement.
“They opened the cordon and let people walk on my son’s body basically,” he said. “It’s just so upsetting to see it all.”
When police called with an update later in the morning, the family’s distress was compounded by the news that the liaison officer assigned to them would not be able to visit until 4pm at the earliest.
“We’ve had absolutely no police support whatsoever,” Paul said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous when we’re grieving. My son has had his troubles but he was a grand lad.”
He said the police’s handling of the situation had made it all so much harder.
“We just need support,” he said. “Explain to us, say we’re here if you need us – but they haven’t done that. This mustn’t happen to another family.”
The officer leading the police investigation said that they fully appreciated the “dreadful impact” the fatal crash would have on the Hotson family.
Sergeant Ann Drury, of the Major Collision and Enquiry Team, said that social media posts had meant members of the immediate family became aware of the crash very soon afterwards and met an attending officer at the scene.
“As they were immediate next of kin and had attended quite rightly wanting information, the officer formally notified them there of the death,” she said. “If the family had not attended the officers would have made enquiries to locate them and tell them in person.”
She said another update was given by phone yesterday and it was explained that a family liaison officer (FLO) would visit after their shift began at 4pm.
“It is normal practice for us to give a family some space in the immediate aftermath of such a tragic event to begin to process what is clearly overwhelming and devastating information,” she said, adding that the FLO would discuss support and next steps during their visit.