Four young men who died when their car smashed into a house and burst into flames have been described as ‘rays of sunshine’ by their families.
The victims, named locally as Ryan Nelson, 20, Corey Owen, 19, Matthew Parke, 19, and Jordan Rawlings, 20, died in the ‘horrific collision’ in Derry Hill near Calne, Wilshire on Sunday.
The families of the four men, who were all from Calne, said their deaths left massive voids in their lives.
Mr Nelson’s family described the Tesco worker as a ‘ray of sunshine’ and said he ‘lightened up everyone’s life’.
‘He was a massive football fan. He supported Aldershot Town FC and Manchester United. He was a very talented DJ, it was something he wished to pursue in the future,’ they said.
‘Ryan was loved by everyone. He has the most beautiful soul. So handsome, he loved all his designer gear, had so much pride. Our lives are empty without him.’
Mr Owen had passed his college course and planned on attending university, his family said.
‘He was the most kind and loving young man, loved and adored by his family, brother, little sisters, girlfriend and his friends,’ they said.
‘He had such a happy, easygoing nature, he was so popular and loved dearly by everyone, so, so many people thought the world of him.
‘His loss will leave a huge gap in all our lives forever. We are utterly devastated.’
Friends of the men today suggested the group may have been on a night out in Chippenham ahead of the crash, but were unsure whether the driver had been with them.
‘They were just lovely lads – the nicest guys,’ a woman said. ‘They were the life of Calne. They loved a drink and a smoke.’
Mr Parke, a Swansea University business management student, was looking forward to returning to his studies in September.
‘Mattie was a very happy boy – he woke up every day with a smile on his face. He was never sad,’ his family said.
‘He was enthusiastic about everything in life, full of energy, confident and outgoing.
‘He always had somewhere to go, somewhere to be, someone to see. He also had a wicked sense of humour.
‘He was extremely sociable and loved going out with his very wide circle of friends – they meant so much to him and he loved them as if they were his family.
‘His life may have been short – he was just 19 years old – but he packed so much into those years he really did.’
The family of Mr Rawlings described a man with a ‘cheeky smile and a wicked sense of humour’.
‘The loss of our beautiful son/brother/grandson/nephew and cousin has left a hole in all of our hearts, but we were proud as a family to have had him in our lives,’ they said.
‘Our hearts go out to the other families and all their friends.
‘It is apparent from all the kind messages and condolences that Jordan, Matt, Corey and Ryan have touched many people’s hearts within their short lives.’
The occupants of the house, who raised the alarm, were uninjured and police said investigations continued into the cause of the tragedy.
Inspector Mark Freeman, from the roads policing unit, said: ‘Four families have been left devastated, losing young men who were just starting their adult lives and our thoughts are with them all at this difficult time.
‘Investigations of this nature are understandably complex and we have a team of collision investigators carrying out thorough enquiries to understand exactly what happened.
‘We have already spoken to a number of witnesses, but if you have any information which you think could assist us then we would urge you to call us.’
Photographs, letters, football shirts, beer cans and even a Pot Noodle were today left by the side of the A4 following the tragic collision at 3am on Sunday.
One note addressed to ‘Jordan, Corey, Matt and Ryan’ lay propped up against a tree while another letter read: ‘Keep partying up there guys, I’ll always look up and think of you guys.’
A line of bouquets were also been placed by the road and framed pictures of the four victims were also left.
One letter read: ‘You will forever be in my thoughts and I’ll never forget your smiley faces. You were amazing people to work with and all filled with joy.
‘Keep partying up there guys, I’ll always look up and think of you guys.’
Police are yet to formally identify the young men who died but have confirmed they are from the local area.
Officers are still investigating what caused the devastating incident, which took place at around 3am on August 16.
Locals had dashed outside after the ‘horrific collision’ on Sunday.
Retired builder Peter Connolly and his wife Margaret tried to save the young men from the blaze after the car slammed into their home, but the fire was too intense.
The terrified young men shouted ‘help us’ as the couple desperately tried to come to their aid.
Mr Connolly, who is in his 70s, told The Sun: ‘I’d gone up to bed just after 2am because I was watching the TV downstairs.
‘I’d just nodded off when there was a sound like a bomb going off. It made the whole house rattle and shake. I was sleeping just 4ft from where the car struck the house.’
He said the collision into his property blew out the windows in his home and caused his wristwatch to stop working at the moment of the crash.
Police said all four victims died at the scene as officers and a forensic team continued investigating today.
Further tributes have been made to the men, who are believed to have been in their late teens or early 20s, on social media.
Robert Merrick, a local councillor, said: ‘The tragic news that we have lost four young men from Calne at the start of their lives in a tragic car accident is devastating.
‘My thoughts are with the families and friends at the time and I offer you any support you may need.
‘The community of Calne will come together once again to help you and your families at this time. I am so deeply, deeply sorry.’
Fellow town councillor Sam Pearce-Kearney said: ‘My thoughts are with the families and friends of the four young males who tragically died after their car crashed into the side of a house in Derry Hill.’
Locals said accidents happened ‘too frequently’ on the road and revealed they had warned it was unsafe.
Parish council vice-chairman Jim Cook said the speed limits were ‘really not conducive to safe driving’ because they suddenly went from 60mph to 40mph as motorists entered the village.
Superintendent Steve Cox, of Wiltshire Police, said: ‘This was an absolutely horrific collision.
‘All blue light services attended the scene and were met with devastating scenes. All four occupants of the vehicle died at the scene.
‘Their families have been informed and we are in the process of assigning each family with specialist trained officers.
‘My thoughts and the thoughts of all at Wiltshire Police are with them all today.’
Paying tribute on Facebook, a resident said: ‘RIP boys. Truly gutted the world won’t be the same without you.’
At the crash site, Mr Cook said it was a ‘terrible tragedy’ but that ‘speed is such a factor of our lives these days’.
He told ITV: ‘We are very worried as a council and as residents of course about the speed limits on the A4.
‘They are 40mph in this area but they come from de-restricted 60mph. Those changes in speed limits are really not conducive to safe driving.’
A 75-year-old woman crashed into a building off the same road 15 miles east in Marlborough just last month.
Sheila Gillett was on her way to place flowers on the graves of her late husband and son when her Ford Mondeo collided with the town hall.
Police said the A4 and the A342 remained closed while investigation and recovery work was going on.
Officers are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.
Angus Macpherson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire, said: ‘Really tragic news following a collision in Derry Hill.
‘My thoughts are with the families and friends of the four young men who sadly died.
‘My thoughts are also with all emergency services colleagues who attended the scene.’