A DRIVER and passenger who died when their car crashed into a tree in icy conditions had both been drinking and taking drugs, an inquest heard.

Jack Francis Christian, aged 22, and 23-year-old Lee James Perris, died after their silver Volkswagen Polo sped around a corner at 60mph moments before overturning and hitting a tree in Radcliffe.

Mr Christian, of Greenside Chase, Bury, and Mr Perris, of Eton Hill Road, Radcliffe, were declared dead at the scene of the accident in Bury Road, Radcliffe, at 3.30am on December 2, 2012.

Both men suffered brain haemorrhages after fracturing their skulls in the crash.

The inquest, which opened yesterday at Oldham Magistrates Court, heard both men had been drinking alcohol and had taken cocaine and ecstasy earlier that night.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation has been launched because a police officer on routine patrol followed the Polo with lights and sirens on after seeing it speeding and with frost on the windscreen. The officer lost sight of the car before the collision.

Mr Christian, a self-employed electrician, was a regular player for Rochdale Rugby Club, He was not insured for the silver Polo, which belonged to his mother, Nicola Christian, and she had not given him permission to drive it.

The inquest heard that on the morning of December 2, Ms Christian heard Jack and Lee talking in her kitchen at about 3am, sounding “jolly”.

A post mortem examination by pathologist Dr Alan Padwell found the amounts of cocaine and ecstasy in Mr Christian’s blood would not have been enough to kill him but combined with alcohol would have affected his driving.