Police driver who followed Cardiff teenagers moments before they crashed and died now under criminal investigation

31 August 2023, 12:56 | Updated: 31 August 2023, 13:15

The teens' deaths sparked a riot in Ely, Cardiff
The teens' deaths sparked a riot in Ely, Cardiff. Picture: Alamy/Getty/Social media

By Will Taylor

The driver of a police van that was seen following two teenagers riding an electric bike before they crashed and died is being criminally investigated.

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Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, were killed in Cardiff after their bike crashed in May 22.

They were seen being followed by the police van in footage recorded shortly before the tragedy, leading residents to claim a "chase" could have led to their deaths.

It sparked a riot where cars were torched as locals vented their fury with the police.

Scenes livestreamed on YouTube showed young people throwing fireworks and other missiles at a line of police officers with riot shields who were blocking one end of the street.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating what happened, said: "The driver of the police van has now been informed they are being criminally investigated for dangerous driving.

"They had previously been served with a gross misconduct notice, along with the passenger in the police vehicle, notifying them their conduct was under investigation.

Read more: Cardiff crash victim's aunt says nephew was arrested 'over 30 times but never charged' as she blames cops for death

Kyrees and Harvey die din an e-bike crash
Kyrees and Harvey die din an e-bike crash. Picture: Social media

"It should be stressed that the serving of notices and the criminal letter do not necessarily mean that disciplinary or criminal proceedings will follow.

"A decision over potential disciplinary proceedings and any referral to the Crown Prosecution Service, will be made at the end of the investigation."

It is focusing on whether the officers' actions constituted a pursuit.

Kyrees' mother Belinda Sullivan has blamed police for her son's death.

Read more: Nine arrests over Cardiff riots that broke out following crash that killed two teenagers

The teens' deaths triggered a riot
The teens' deaths triggered a riot. Picture: Alamy

South Wales Police initially said the van was half a mile away before changing its version of events as CCTV emerged showing a vehicle not far behind the boys on a road.

The IOPC is working with South Wales Police, which is says is co-operating.

It has finished its enquiries in the Ely area of the Welsh capital, where the crash happened, having gone house-to-house, reviewed bodycam footage and taken statements from relevant officers.

IOPC Director David Ford: "Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Kyrees and Harvey and everyone impacted by the tragic loss of two young lives in Ely.

"Our independent investigation is progressing well and I want to again thank the local community for the support provided to our investigation, including through the sharing of CCTV evidence."

He added: "We would still encourage anyone who believes they have useful information to come forward to us.

The boys were loved in the community, their relatives said
The boys were loved in the community, their relatives said. Picture: Alamy

"We are continuing to engage with local community leaders and elected officials to provide updates on our investigation.

"I would like to emphasise again that we remain committed to establishing the facts of what happened.

"We will continue to provide regular updates to the families of Kyrees and Harvey, to make them aware of developments in the investigation."

Kyrees' family said after his death: "Him and Harvey along with Niall were best friends since they were young and went everywhere together, they both had so many friends and were very well liked doing many things together, having fun & laughs!!

"They were loved by not only their families but by their community as well."