West Midlands Police have arrested five people after a teenage cyclist was killed in Darlaston, near Walsall, on Friday morning, with the car involved in the fatal crash believed to have been the same vehicle involved in a ram raid burglary on a branch of Boots in Wolverhampton a little over an hour beforehand.
Florentine Chinanga-Chou, aged 19 and from Darlaston, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash which happened on Midland Road at around 1am on the morning of 27 September.
Officers believe that the car, a Vauxhall Corsa, is the same one that was driven into the front of the Boots branch in Woverhampton around 75 minutes earlier.
A police car that attended the scene of the burglary was rammed by the driver of the Corsa, who then made off.
West Midlands Police confirmed that five arrests had been made, with 36-year-old Christopher Talbot of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, appearing via videolink at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court this morning, charged with burglary.
He has been remanded in custody to reappear on 4 December.
The force said that a 39-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of burglary and death by dangerous driving had been released on bail while the investigation continues, as have a 33-year-old woman and 21-year-old man arrested on suspicion of burglary.
A 21-year-old woman detained on suspicion of burglary and causing death by dangerous driving has been released with no further action.
In a statement released via West Midlands Police, the victim’s family said: “Florentine was such a gentle and soft spoken young man who often spoke of his plans for his future, a future which has been stolen in the cruellest of manner.
“He was hardworking and deeply caring not only towards his family but to all who came in contact with him. He loved listening to music and playing with his siblings.
“We cannot even begin to comprehend how he was literally ripped from our family while we slept. We will love and miss him deeply, with every passing moment. He has left a lasting impression in our hearts and lives.”
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Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.