Drink driver and three passengers burned to death in BMW fireball crash, inquest hears


Drink driver and three passengers burned to death in BMW fireball crash after car hit roundabout at up to 107mph and flew 250ft through the air into a field, inquest hears

  • They were killed after the BMW they were in crashed on the A5 in Bedfordshire
  • The car caught fire after landing in a field next to the road on October 10, 2021
  • An inquest heard the driver, Zahir Baig, was over the drink drive limit at the time
  • He was driving his friends Sahir Iqbal, Jason McGovern and Mohammed Uddin

A drink driver and three passengers burned to death in a BMW fireball crash after the car hit a roundabout at up to 107mph and flew 250ft through the air before landing in a field, an inquest has heard.

Zahir ‘Zeus’ Baig and his friends were killed while they were on their way to watch the Tyson Fury World Heavyweight Championship boxing fight against Deontay Wilder on October 10 last year. 

A series of inquests at Ampthill in Bedfordshire heard the group had left a nightclub and crashed at the A5 Flying Fox roundabout near Hockliffe at around 3.40am.

All four men died as a result of multiple injuries and fatal burns when the car was crushed and caught fire upon landing in a nearby field. 

An inquest today was told that the car is thought to have been travelling at up to 107mph at the time of the crash, while Mr Baig was found to be over the drink drive limit.

Those who died were driver Baig, 39, from Luton, and passengers Sahir Iqbal, 39, from Luton, Jason McGovern,46, from Leighton Buzzard. and Mohammed Uddin, 41, from Luton.

Zahir Baig from Luton was the driver of the car which 'went airborne and landed in a field', the court heard

Jason McGovern, 46, from Leighton Buzzard was in the rear off side passenger seat. He died from multiple injuries and fatal burns

Zahir Baig, left, from Luton was the driver of the car which ‘went airborne and landed in a field’, the court heard. Jason McGovern, right, from Leighton Buzzard was in the rear off side passenger seat. He died from multiple injuries and fatal burns

Sahir Iqbal, 39, from Luton was in the rear nearside passenger seat. He died from multiple injuries and fatal burns. He was identified by a tattoo

Mohammed Uddin, 41, from Luton was in the front passenger seat. He also died from multiple injuries and fatal burns. He was identified from scars on his body

Sahir Iqbal, left, from Luton was in the rear nearside passenger seat. He died from multiple injuries and fatal burns. He was identified by a tattoo. Mohammed Uddin, right, from Luton was in the front passenger seat. He also died from multiple injuries and fatal burns. He was identified from scars on his body

Zahir Baig’s cause of death was was multiple injuries and fatal burns with a second cause of excess alcohol. His body was identified by tattoos.

Sahir Iqbal was in the rear nearside passenger seat. He was also identified by a tattoo.

Mohammed Uddin was in the front passenger seat. He was identified from scars on his body.

Jason McGovern was in the rear off side passenger seat. He too was identified by a tattoo.

The cause of death for the three passengers was given at multiple injuries and fatal burns.

At the time one relative said: ‘All we know is that my brother-in-law and three friends had gone out that night to watch the Tyson Fury fight.’

The crash happened at the Flying Fox roundabout on the A5 near Heath and Reach, Leighton Buzzard

The crash happened at the Flying Fox roundabout on the A5 near Heath and Reach, Leighton Buzzard

Forensic Collision Investigator Paul Andrews told the inquest Mr Baig had a blood-reading of 96 – the limit being 80.

He said the men had been asked left the Pink Punters night club in Fenny Stratford after Mr Baig had become involved in a confrontation.

CCTV showed the car being driven erratically as it hit a kerb when completing a 3-points turn and going past a parked vehicle. It was travelling at 46mph in a 30mph zone.

PC Andrews said analysis of marks on road at the roundabout on the A5 showed the BMW was speeding at between 84 and 107mph.

He said: ‘It went airborne across the roundabout, across a hedge and landed in a field. It skidded a short distance on the roof and caught fire.’

Mr Andrews said it had been in the air for 250 feet. When the BMW landed upside down the car’s roof was completely crushed on impact.

The inquest heard it was likely all the men were dead before the car caught fire because the car had been crushed.

He said the cause of the crash was the driver either being impaired due to alcohol, fatigue or distraction. ‘It is likely all three caused the collision,’ he said.

DC Helen Giles said all four men had gone to the club around half past midnight and had left at around 3.32 in the morning. 

She said: ‘Mr Baig was engaging in horseplay and messing around with Mr Iqbal when he accidentally slapped another individual and they were asked to leave.’

She said Mr Baig was involved in a tussle with door staff. As he walked to his car he seemed very unsteady on his feet, she said.

In a statement summarised by the coroner, a driver going northbound, who was named only as Tom, said he saw dust and debris and a vehicle in the air. It was at the same height as the roundabout traffic lights. He heard a ‘whoosh’. The man drove around the roundabout, dialled 999 and saw an orange glow in the field. Other drivers also stopped.

Assistant Bedfordshire and Luton coroner Dr Sean Cummings said: ‘Mr Baig was intoxicated, above the legal limit, and was speeding. He made an attempt. He collided with the roundabout. The vehicle became airborne and landed on its roof. Killing those inside.’

He said he was sure all the four men were dead before the car caught fire.

All four men died in the crash after receiving multiple injuries and fatal burns when the car caught fire

All four men died in the crash after receiving multiple injuries and fatal burns when the car caught fire

Dr Cummings said his conclusion was that the four men died as a result of a road traffic collision.

In a tribute statement at the time the family of Zahir Baig of Abigail Close, Luton, said: ‘We are absolutely devastated to have lost our heart and soul of the family.

‘He was the head of our family, he was our 6’3’ shadow and protector. He was the best father, brother, son and uncle; someone that would do anything for his family.

‘Zahir was truly one of a kind – unique and someone whose heart was so big and kind it was too big for his body.

‘We ask you to pray for our brother and his friends who have so tragically lost their lives and we hope no other family has to go through this pain we are suffering today.

The crash took place at the Flying Fox roundabout on the A5 in Bedfordshire on October 10, 2021

The crash took place at the Flying Fox roundabout on the A5 in Bedfordshire on October 10, 2021

‘We would like to thank you for all your messages of condolences, we have seen them all but as you can imagine it’s very difficult to send individual replies. We thank you and acknowledge you all.’

Sahir Iqbal of Trent Road, Luton, was described by his family as a precious son, brother, father and husband.

‘He was the strength of our family, we will never forget the countless times he would run to our rescue no matter where or what he was doing,’ they said.

‘Our big brother. A father and son so full of love. His smile will be remembered by all.

‘He was unique, unrefined and transparent and there was no other like him. Many may have a heart of gold, his was a heart of diamonds.

‘We will never forget you, you are irreplaceable. So until we meet again, rest in peace.’

Jason ‘Jay’ McGovern of Roosevelt Avenue, Leighton Buzzard, was the son of Valerie Closs, father to Joe Jack and brother to Daniel Wilson.

In a statement his family said: ‘Jay was a man of many personalities. He was generous, funny and silly at times. He would do anything to help those he cared about.

‘Jay had his faults, but he was well loved by those who really knew him and regarded him as a friend.

‘Jay will be truly missed, especially by his wife of two months and partner for 14 years Sharon McGovern, his step daughter Marcella Clarke and his granddaughter.’

The family of Mohammed Uddin of Biscot Road, Luton, said he was ‘a loyal man who always guarded his family and friends’.

They added: ‘A devoted father of four beautiful children and loved dearly by all of his family.

‘A lion-hearted brother of the community who will be remembered for generations to come.’

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