Tributes paid to teenage cyclist as death crash suspects released by police

Tributes have been paid to a "gentle" and "deeply caring" teenager who was killed when he was hit by a car believed to have been used in a ram raid an hour earlier.

Florentine Chinanga–Chou was aged 19 when he was killed
Florentine Chinanga–Chou was aged 19 when he was killed

Cyclist Florentine Chinanga–Chou, 19, died after being hit by a Vauxhall Corsa in Midland Road, Darlaston, in the early hours of Friday morning.

The teenager, who lived in Darlaston, was treated by emergency services but confirmed dead at the scene.

The same Corsa is believed to have been used in a ram raid four miles away in Wolverhampton city centre around an hour before it hit Florentine and overturned.

Five people were arrested over the two incidents but all but one have now been released as the police investigation continues.

The aftermath of the crash in Midland Road, Darlaston. Photo: SnapperSK

Today Florentine family described their devastation after he was "ripped" from them while they slept.

In a statement, they said: "Florentine was such a gentle and soft spoken young man who often spoke of his plans for his future, a future which has been stolen in the cruelest of manner.

"He was hardworking and deeply caring not only towards his family but to all who came in contact with him. He loved listening to music and playing with his siblings.

"We cannot even begin to comprehend how he was literally ripped from our family while we slept. We will love and miss him deeply, with every passing moment.

"He has left a lasting impression in our hearts and lives."

Boots in Dudley Street, Wolverhampton, was boarded up after the ram raid

Florentine was hit just after 1am, around 75 minutes after officers on patrol spotted the ram raid unfolding at Boots on Dudley Street in Wolverhampton.

One of the burglary gang was arrested at the scene but the others fled in a red Corsa which rammed a police car in the process.

Another police car was then in the Darlaston area when Florentine was hit, but officers are not thought to have been chasing the Corsa when the crash happened.

Officers from the police car performed CPR on the youngster but nothing could be done to save him.

Meanwhile a woman, thought to have been a passenger in the Corsa, was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital as other people from the car left the scene.

The aftermath of the crash in Midland Road, Darlaston. Photo: SnapperSK

She was arrested and three more suspects - two women and one man - were later detained elsewhere in the Walsall area.

All four have since been released from custody, with three of them on bail and one released with no further action.

Meanwhile 36-year-old suspect Christopher Talbot, of Orchard Road, Eardington, Bridgnorth, has been charged with burglary.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "Christopher Talbot appeared before Wolverhampton Magistrates Court via a virtual hearing this morning. The 36-year-old, from Bridgnorth, was remanded in custody for a next appearance on Friday, December 4.

"A 39-year-old woman who was arrested on suspicion of burglary and death by dangerous driving has been released on bail while enquiries continue.

"As have a 33-year-old woman and 21-year-old man who were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

"A 21-year-old woman detained on suspicion of burglary and death by dangerous driving has been released with no further action."

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