The harrowing scene of a crash which killed six people was one of smoke, steam and dust, according to the first police officer to arrive.
Pc Keith Evans, of West Midlands Police, was giving evidence on the final day of inquests for the deadly Lee Bank Middleway crash which happened in Birmingham on December 17.
The dog handler described hearing a loud bang as he was driving near the scene at about 1.11am.
Turning his marked police car around to look for the source of the noise, he told Birmingham Coroner’s Court on Wednesday: “Then, I saw smoke, steam and dust come up from the underpass.
“I saw there’d been a serious collision.”
The day before, senior coroner Louise Hunt concluded Kasar Jehangir’s Audi S3, which had two defective tyres, was driven at excessive speed, causing him to lose control at 100mph and plough sideways into a taxi coming the other way.
Mr Jehangir also had cannabis in his blood, which Mrs Hunt found had contributed to the crash.
In the resulting collision, the driver died along with two of his passengers; Tauqeer Hussain and Mohammed Fahsha, who both lived a few doors from one another in Small Heath, Birmingham.
None of them had been wearing seat-belts and were ejected out of the car, along with sole survivor Zakkria Khan.
The collision also killed the cab’s driver, a father-of-six, Imtiaz Mohammed, and his passengers Lucy Davis, a mother-of-two, and her partner, nuclear physicist and rock music fan Lee Jenkins.
Pc Evans described how three of the men in the Audi had suffered catastrophic head injuries and could not be helped.
He immediately radioed in to tell control the collision was almost certainly a fatal accident.
The 33-year-old cab driver and Ms Davis were also pronounced dead at the scene by medics, while Mr Jenkins died a short time later in hospital.
Asked by a relative of Mr Hussain’s whether the men from the Audi were dead when he arrived, Pc Evans said: “I’ve been a police officer for more than 20 years and I was a soldier for eight years before that.
There is no doubt in my mind they had all passed away immediately.”
Pc Evans described how a “child’s bottle” was found in the Audi Mr Jehangir had been insured to drive.
In a tribute from his wife, she described him as “the best dad anyone could ever ask for”.
On Wednesday, Mrs Hunt said Mr Fahsha and Mr Jehangir died of multiple injuries, and Mr Hussain, of head injuries.
Concluding their deaths were the result of a road traffic accident, she told the men’s families: “I do hope you can remember the loved ones as you described them to me, and not the terrible way you lost them.”
Afterwards, those families paid tribute to the victims.
In a statement, Mr Fahsha’s relatives said: “Six lives were lost; no doubt leaving behind thousands of mourners and as a community we should try to learn the harsh realities of the most difficult of lessons.”
By Richard Vernalls,