A LAVINGTON teenager killed in a fiery car crash had been smoking ice and swerving a stolen utility side to side before hitting a tree, an inquest has heard.
Deputy state coroner Derek Lee is in Albury to examine the circumstances leading up to the death of Shaun Crighton, 19, in East Street on September 4, 2017.
The utility, which he had stolen from Wodonga about 15 minutes before the crash using a pair of scissors, hit a tree about 1.26am.
Two Albury officers had been following the car at a distance and were about to activate the vehicle’s lights on East Street when they saw the car swerve, lose control, and crash.
Footage played at the Albury Coroners Court showed police travelling about seven seconds behind the vehicle moments before the impact.
A loud screech and bang could be heard on security vision captured from a home on Borella Road, followed by the car exploding in a ball of flames.
Police couldn’t get close enough to the burning vehicle to remove Mr Crighton, who died soon after impact of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The court heard a teen and two other men travelling in a car with no plates, whose names can’t be published, had been speaking to him about the police trailing his stolen car when he crashed.
The court heard the trio had told him to slow down after he said words to the effect of “what do I do, I’m really scared, they’re right up my ass”.
They heard a bang and the phone went dead, and attended the scene soon after the collision with family members.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Peggy Dwyer, said the court would examine whether the actions of the officers constituted a pursuit and if their actions were appropriate.
The two police members had first tried to stop the trio and Mr Crighton in a white Holden Commodore on Dale Crescent about an hour before the crash.
The vehicle sped off on the wrong side of the road, had its lights turned off, and headed along Tracy Street before travelling over to Wodonga.
The court heard Mr Crighton stole the utility from a home on Wattle Court before driving into Magnolia Crescent.
He drove the Ford onto the wrong side of the road when Wodonga officers tried to stop the vehicle about 15 minutes before the crash.
Albury officers were alerted and were on Atkins Street when they noticed the trio in the white Holden, travelling behind Mr Crighton in the stolen utility.
The trio in the Holden turned onto Schubach Street and police followed Mr Crighton.
The court heard he had been warned he was being followed by police.
Multiple security cameras caught the stolen ute and the police vehicle, which was travelling about seven seconds behind in the final footage.
The officers could be heard on police radio recordings saying they thought they had spotted the utility.
Less than a minute later, they radioed to say the vehicle had crashed and caught fire near the hospital.
About a dozen family members attended the first day of the inquest.
The coroner visited the East Street site on Tuesday, and inspected the tree that Mr Crighton crashed into.
Detective Acting Inspector Trent Swinton told the inquest the two Albury officers had made a possible sighting of Mr Crighton in the stolen Ford utility at 1.24am.
Less than a minute later, they radioed through to say the car had crashed.
The 19-year-old had methamphetamine and amphetamine in his system, having smoked ice in the hours before the crash.
Mr Lee said the inquest was not about laying blame for what had occurred, but finding out whether there were any shortcomings or deficiencies that could be changed to improve public safety.
Ms Dwyer said the inquest aimed to provide a "full and frank account of what happened in the lead-up to Shaun's death".
Multiple sources said police hadn't activated their lights or sirens before the crash.