Two men jailed over high speed Lexus race crash which killed Callum Chapman, 24, in Sussex

Callum Chapman crash death
A grey Lexus lost control and collided with trees during the incident Credit: Sussex Police

The mother of a 24-year-old man killed in a joy-racing crash says her world "exploded" when she learned her son had been killed.

Two men have been jailed after the high-speed crash which killed Callum Chapman as he filmed the race near Southwater, Sussex.

Two cars were seen racing at speeds of more than 100mph along the A24 on 6 December, 2020.

One of the cars, a grey Lexus, lost control and collided with trees during the incident, killing Callum.

His grieving mother, Jillie Slope, described him as a "bright shining beacon" robbed from the family by the actions of a "selfish" speeding driver.

Car enthusiast, Callum Chapman, 24, was killed in the crash Credit: Sussex Police

A court heard Callum and his friend had travelled to Buck Barn services, where they had arranged to meet two other car owners who lived together in Saltdean, and do some filming for their respective social media accounts.

Callum, who was a car enthusiast, agreed to be the sole passenger of the Lexus, while his friend agreed to be the sole passenger of the white Toyota Supra.

Witnesses have described how the two vehicles raced each other at high speeds along the A24.

Mobile phone footage captured by Callum during the journey revealed the Lexus was travelling between 87mph and 104mph when it lost control and crashed prior to the Hop Oast Roundabout.

The driver of the Toyota, who was leading the convoy, had by this time realised the Lexus was no longer behind him, so he returned to the crash scene.

This footage is not being released by police at the request of Callum’s family.

The driver of the Toyota, Michael Yazgic, has been jailed for six months Credit: Sussex Police

Callum’s mother Jillie Slope urged racing enthusiasts to learn from the tragedy.

She said: "Callum was just 24. His life had just turned a corner for the better. His mental health was much improved and he had finally got a job where his autism didn't matter. He was so happy.

"On 6 December 2020 a selfish driver, showing off with no concern for his passenger, drove above the speed limit reaching excessive speeds and took my son’s life in a split second. We lost a son and a brother, a step-son, step-brother and a friend to so many.

"His sister Madi will not have her brother walking her down the aisle at her wedding and he won't be the amazing uncle to her children that I know he would have been. She will miss his craziness, tormenting her, popping into her room for chats, borrowing a fiver and his protectiveness as her big brother.

"His friends have lost their confidant, the detecting buddy, the car fanatic, the clown, the historian, the joker and their mediator and protector.

"As his mum, there will be no chance of any grandchildren, no phone calls, no hugs, no daily chats, no more dad jokes every night at the dinner table and no spontaneous trips. The infectious, crazy laugh that would carry for a fair distance. The phone calls of excitement when he went metal detecting and dug up a hammered coin.

"The tears and utter joy when he helped an injured or lost animal. The chaos he brought home will be missed.

"Everyone's world exploded and the ripple effect from his loss is far reaching and devastating. The bright shining beacon that you were has been put out far too soon, the world is now a darker place without you.

"I would urge all drivers to think before putting their foot down on the accelerator. Think about the potential consequences of your actions. Speed kills."

Curtis Gaare Michael was jailed for three years and disqualified from driving for four years and six months Credit: Sussex Police

The driver of the Toyota, Michael Yazgic, 29, of Packham Way, Burgess Hill, was arrested and charged with dangerous driving.

The Lexus driver, Curtis Gaare Michael, 37, of Westfield Rise, Saltdean, was taken to hospital with serious injuries, before being arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

They both pleaded guilty and appeared before Lewes Crown Court on Thursday 3 February for sentencing.

Gaare Michael was jailed for three years and disqualified from driving for four years and six months.

Yazgic was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 21 months.

If they reapply for their licence, both will have to take an extended re-test.

Two cars were seen racing at speeds of more than 100mph along the A24 in December 2020 Credit: Sussex Police

Judge Laing QC said the defendants "used the A24 as a race track to show off".

She added: "You were prepared to create a substantial risk to other road users by driving at grossly excessive speeds."

Investigating Officer, Lauren Upton, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, added: "Tragically, Callum Chapman had been recording footage on his mobile phone from inside the Lexus.

"This captured the moments leading to the collision and the collision itself, as well as the dangerous driving by Gaare Michael and Yazgic.

"The shocking footage showed both defendants driving at a grossly excessive speed on a busy dual carriageway on a Sunday afternoon with many other road users around, all of whom were driving at a sensible speed.

"Their actions of choosing to ‘show off’ their high performance cars resulted in devastating consequences for Callum’s family and friends."

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