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  1. ITV Report

Teenagers killed in Essex car crash named locally

The crash happened at Southend Avenue in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Two teenagers, who died after the car they were passengers in crashed while being pursued by police, have been named locally.

Liam Phillips and Reigan Knight were were in maroon Ford Escort that hit a silver BMW before crashing into a wall in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex at around 1am yesterday (27 December).

Reigan died at the scene. Liam was rushed to Southend Hospital in a critical condition but died this morning.

Police refused to confirm whether the police car's lights or sirens were on.

Friends of the pair took to social media to pay tribute to them.

"RIP to Reigan Knight who was a lovely kind-hearted boy and Liam Phillips who had a big heart and was always there for anyone who needed him.

"Sad that they were taken so soon and my thoughts are with their families."

– Lantana Hall, Facebook tribute

"Today, I and many others lost two very important people in our lives, Reigan Knight and Liam Phillips.

"I wish I could have said goodbye to them both, you were both such nice, respectful guys and did not deserve to be taken from us, it just goes to show how this could happen to anyone at any place or time, so cherish the moments we have left and don't take this life we have for granted cause you never know when your time will be up, to their families and friends all my love goes out to you all, I love you boys both, rest in peace and sleep well."

– Jake Houghton, Facebook tribute

"Liam Phillips may you rest in peace, used to be so, so close and I just remember and know how loving and what a kind-hearted boy you are. Sleep tight mate you'll be so missed."

– Harry Page, Facebook tribute

Two other teenagers in the car, including the 16-year-old alleged driver, suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The driver of the silver BMW was unhurt.

A 16-year-old from Great Wakering, Essex was has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing death by driving without a driving licence and causing death by driving without insurance.

He appeared at Chelmsford Youth Court today.

The second boy, a 17-year-old from Shoebury, Essex was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs and has been released on bail until 14 January.

The crash has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which has launched an independent investigation.

Investigators have yet to determine the circumstances of the interaction between the police car and the Ford and whether it meets the precise criteria of a pursuit.