Man arrested after boy dies in 'deliberate' Essex hit-and-run
2 December 2019, 18:38 | Updated: 3 December 2019, 07:53
A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a child died and four teenagers were injured during a car crash in Loughton, Essex.
The suspect, a 51-year-old man, was arrested on six counts of attempted murder and one of causing death by dangerous driving.
He also faces charges including causing serious injury by driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and driving without insurance.
A 12-year-old boy was taken to hospital after the collision near Debden High School, where he died of his injuries.
Four teenagers and a 23-year-old woman are being treated in hospital for what police say are non life-threatening injuries.
In a statement, Chief Superintendent Tracey Harman said police were searching for a local man who they believed could be involved in the incident.
She said: "We believe that the collision was deliberate and as such we have launched a murder investigation. We are investigating whether or not this incident may have been connected with another incident nearby."
This has been an incredibly difficult day for the local community and we ask everybody to continue to show the kindness and their bravery that we have seen today."
Police were called just after 3.20pm on Monday to reports that a number of pedestrians had been involved in an incident.
Inspectors have thanked the public for helping at the scene and said they were searching for a silver Ford KA which is likely to have damage to the front.
They have cordoned both ends of Willingale Road and are only allowing people who live on the street inside to enter their homes.
This is now a murder investigation and we urgently need your help - thanks to everyone that helped at what was a incredibly difficult scene - we now need to find the missing vehicle a silver ford KA https://t.co/RPWmGf2S1a— Insp Rob Brettell (@InspBrettell) December 2, 2019
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Kirby of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "This has been a truly shocking incident and my deepest sympathies are with all those involved.
"We would like to thank the many members of the public who have called us with information and spoken to our officers, as well as those who provided crucial medical assistance at the scene.
He said there was likely to be a "serious and prolonged investigation" into what happened.
We are currently at the scene of a serious collision on Willingale Road, #Loughton.— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) December 2, 2019
The road cannot be accessed from junctions on either side of Debden Park High School.
Closure runs between Rookwood Ave and Audley Gardens.
Please avoid the area where possible. pic.twitter.com/ZRPPlJGtH4
Essex and Herts Air Ambulance said it had treated "a number of patients" at the scene.
A church in Loughton will be holding a Mass service at 8pm, according to local Father Sam Stuart from St John's Church Loughton.
He said the church would also be open tomorrow "for prayer, lighting candles and if anyone needs to talk".
Essex Police are urging anyone with information, dash cam footage, or who may have seen anything on social media that they think could be crucial, to call them on 101 and quote incident number 726 of 2 December.