'Heartbroken' families pay tribute to three teens killed in crash between bus and car in Tonyrefail

Morgan Smith, Callum Griffiths and Jesse Owen all died at the scene. Credit: Family photos

The families of three young men who died in a crash involving a bus and a car in a village in south Wales have paid tribute to them.

Callum Griffiths, 19, from Porth, Jesse Owen, 18, from Tonypandy and Morgan Smith, 18, from Tonypandy were killed in the incident in Coedely, Tonyrefail on Monday 11 December.

Mr Owen's family said his presence would “light up any room," and he was "loved by all who had the honour of knowing him".

They added: "He was the most loving, happy kind, calm and beautiful soul. He would do absolutely anything for anyone. He loved his family and friends and was loyal to the core.

The crash happened at around 7pm on Monday 11 December. Credit: ITV Wales

“He has left a huge void in all of our hearts and our lives will never be the same without him. He will be sorely missed by his parents, grandparents, brothers and extended family.

“We are all truly heartbroken.”

Emergency services were called to Ely Valley Road in Coedely at around 7pm on Monday after the collision with an Audi A1 and a bus.

South Wales Police said the three men were declared dead at the scene.

Officers have also said that two further men, who are aged 18 and 19, have been taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, with life-threatening injuries.

Two other people were also treated for minor injuries.

Jesse Owen's family said his presence would “light up any room." Credit: Family photo

Mr Smith's family described him as a popular son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin who was "best known as a talented boxer previously gaining a Welsh title. He was an up-and-coming star with a promising boxing career ahead of him".

They continued: “We as a family are devastated by the loss of Morgan, we have been left with a void that can never be filled We love you our boy.

“We would like to thank all the emergency services that assisted at the scene."

The family of Mr Griffiths said he "had the most beautiful smile that would light up the room. He was the most precious gift of a son and our love is endless.

“Our hearts have been broken into a million pieces, broken beyond repair.

"He was so loving and had a caring soul. He has left a hole in our hearts that cannot be filled. 

Morgan Smith's family said he was "an up-and-coming star with a promising boxing career ahead of him." Credit: Family photo

“Callum was a world champion in kickboxing and achieved numerous gold medals and has represented Wales in different countries all over the world. 

“Callum qualified as a barber just over a year ago. He was a passionate, hard-working and a dedicated barber. And we are so very proud of him. We are proud of everything he’s achieved.

“We love you 'Champ'.” 

Erin, Mr Griffiths' sister, added: “Callum was my best friend and the most selfless person in the world. I will always love him and am so proud of him.”

Danny Grehan, Plaid Cymru's councillor for Tonyrefail East, told ITV News Wales that the community is grieving and he thanked residents and the emergency services.

Superintendent Esyr Jones of South Wales Police said: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic incident.

Callum Griffiths' family said their hearts were "broken beyond repair". Credit: Family photo

"Trained family liaison officers are supporting the families at what must be an extremely difficult time for them.”

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford has tweeted saying his "thoughts are with the families and friends of those involved in this tragic incident in Coedely, and diolch o galon to all first responders working at the scene".

Meanwhile, the leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Andrew Morgan has said, "my deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of those affected by this tragic incident.

"The loss of such young lives has had a devastating impact on the community. On behalf of the Council, I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have died, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured.

"I would like to thank those in the community who rushed to the scene to help and send my thanks to the emergency services for their fast and professional response in a very distressing situation."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...