FATAL CRASH UPDATE: 24-year-old released on police bail

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A man arrested in connection with a car crash in which a 21-year-old man from Great Oxendon died has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Young chef Zachary Whittall, from Great Oxendon, near Market Harborough, died in the crash on Tuesday night.

The crash happened in Stretton, Rutland, at 11pm after the car in which Zachary was a passenger left the road and hit a tree.

His mum Cathy told the Mail yesterday that he had just finished his shift working as a chef at The Olive Branch pub in Clipsham, Rutland, which is about a mile-and-a-half away from where the crash occurred.

Officers from the East Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit, who are appealing for witnesses, announced today (Thursday) that a 24-year-old man arrested in connection with the crash has now been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The collision involved a black Vauxhall Corsa and a light-grey Vauxhall Astra estate, Leicestershire police said.

The driver of the Corsa suffered serious injuries and is being treated at Peterborough Hospital where he remains in a stable condition, said police at 4.19pm today.

Zachary was a front-seat passenger in the Corsa. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Vauxhall Astra was not injured, said police.

Zacahary’s family have paid tribute to a man who “loved to cook and was always laughing”.

Mum Cathy said: “Zachary was our eldest son and was a talented chef. For the last year he has worked as an integral part of the team at The Olive Branch, he loved to cook and was always laughing.

“For the first time in his career, he felt valued and part of a team. We are absolutely devastated by what has happened.

“Suddenly a family-of-five has been reduced to just four.”

She added: “We are extremely proud of Zach and what he has achieved in his career. Myself, Peter his dad, Connor and Angus his brothers are trying to deal with what has happened. You never imagine you will outlive your own children.”

The Olive Branch’s co-owner has also paid tribute to Zachary.

Ben Jones said: “Zach was a hard-working, dedicated and passionate young chef, he was full of smiles, positive and always had a joke to tell.

“He put 100 per cent into his work and was a real team player. He was an incredibly popular member of The Olive Branch family, he will be greatly missed by us all.”

The Olive Branch was The Good Pub Guide’s Pub of the Year for 2014 and has been featured in the Michelin Guide every year since 2002.

Det Con 1761 Pete Davies, who is investigating the crash, said: “Both vehicles were travelling along Clipsham Road towards Stretton when the Corsa left the road and collided with a tree.

“We would like to speak to anyone who was travelling along this road yesterday evening to contact us if they saw either vehicle beforehand or witnessed the actual collision.”

People can contact the East Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit by calling the police 101 number.

Story by Alex Blackwell

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