THE son of two wealthy police officers told a coroner yesterday (July 8) how he killed two pedestrians while driving his parents' powerful Audi A5 after smoking drugs with friends.

Max Coopey, 18, from The Burlings in Ascot, had been over the drug-driving limit for cannabis when he ploughed straight into Jason Imi and John Shackley, who were away from home on a work golf trip in August 2018.

The car hit 61-year-old Mr Shackley and 48-year old Mr Imi with such force as they crossed the road that they were thrown over the top of the Audi and died instantly on impact with the ground.

Despite killing both men with his car, Mr Coopey, whose parents Russel Coopey and Catherine were both police officers, was only charged with drug-driving after he was arrested at the scene and found to have 3.3 mcg of cannabis in his bloodstream - above the legal limit of 2 mcg. 

He told an inquest: “Just because something is in your blood doesn’t mean you’re under the influence of it and it can impair your ability to drive and that is in any research.

"Google it and you can find it,” he cheekily told the coroner and legal representatives at the hearing.

Mr Coopey, who lives at his parents' £1million home on The Burlings in Ascot, Berks., was giving evidence at the double inquest in Reading.

His father Russel, who is a police sergeant in the Metropolitan Police and who had rushed to the scene on the night of the collision when his son called him and said he had hit people with the car, gave evidence to the inquest in a written statement.

He had allowed his son to borrow his car because his own, a BMW, was in for repairs after being involved in a collision, the coroner heard. 

Mr Coopey’s father had told the inquest in his statement that he had rushed to the scene in a taxi after his son had called him, sounding panicky and frightened, and said: “Dad, I have had an accident, somebody ran in front of me and I have hit them. I think they may be dead.”

Adrian White, a police collision investigator, told the inquest his reconstruction of the incident led him to the view that the accident could not be avoided.

However, Counsel Mr Hinchliffe made the argument that the coroner should reach a verdict of unlawful killing because Max Coopey had been driving dangerously while high on cannabis.

Mr Hinchliffe said: “This shows a car being driven at speed by an individual who was under the influence of cannabis and codeine. I ask you to accept the evidence that the effect of that impairs perception and ability to drive.

“If there was adequate time, at least two seconds, as has been suggested, then the braking of that car could have been achieved so as to reduce the speed very substantially so as to avoid a fatal collision.”

Ms McCormick said the killings of Mr Shackley and Mr Imi were not an appropriate case to provide an unlawful killing verdict because she could not be sure, beyond reasonable doubt, that Mr Coopey was speeding at the time of the collision or that the cannabis he had smoked impaired his ability to drive.

Instead, the coroner provided a verdict of "road traffic collision" in respect of both deaths and added that she would be sending a Regulation 28 report to the Highways Authority to see if future deaths could be prevented on the stretch of road near the Royal Berkshire Hotel, citing the lack of street lighting and a footway as causing real risks for the future.

Ms McCormick added: “Can I just pay tribute to both families who had the most difficult of days. Thank you for being brave and for sticking with the process.”