Wednesday June 11 1997
Teen killed in tragic smash
Four others hurt in collision with lorry
A SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD East Grinstead teenager died when the car he was driving was involved in a collision with a lorry on the A22.
Russell Dienes was rushed to Eastbourne hospital by helicopter on Thursday where he was found to have suffered severe injuries and was put on a life support machine.
He was pronounced dead at 4:15 pm on Friday. His father Robert and mother Jasmine were at his bedside, along with other members of the family and friends.
Russell, a member of staff at the Church of Scientology, was on his way to the group's Saint Hill headquarters when the tragedy happened.
Also in the car were four other Scientology staff aged between 16 and 20.
Two are still in hospital, suffering from head and abdominal injuries.
But they are in a stable condition and "improving daily" according to the Scientology public affairs director, Graeme Wilson.
The two others have been released from hospital after treatment for minor cuts and bruises. The lorry driver was unhurt.
Mr Wilson said this week: "This is a tragic accident and we are doing everything possible to help those injured and their families.
"Scientology ministers are with the two hospitalised church members 24 hours a day, using spiritual counselling concurrent to the medical treatment they are receiving.
" And, as per doctor's reports, both are making very good progress."
He said everyone's thoughts were very much with Russell Dienes' family, who were being comforted by Scientology ministers.
A private funeral service will be held later this week (See obituary on P2).
© 1997, East Grinstead Observer
EAST GRINSTEAD OBSERVER
Wednesday January 21 1998
Driver dies after lorry hits vehicle
INEXPERIENCED motorist Russell Dienes was killed when he pulled out in front of a lorry which ploughed into his car at 40mph, an inquest heard this week.
Mr. Dienes, 17, of Sackville Gardens, East Grinstead, was following his friends' car which had made a right-hand turn onto the busy A22 at Nutley when the tragedy happened.
Without looking to his right, Mr Dienes' Austin Maestro pulled out straight into the path of the Mercedes goods vehicle.
His car spun round 180 degrees before coming to rest in the right-hand carriageway of the main road.
The teenager was rushed to Eastbourne District General Hospital but died a few hours later from multiple injuries.
The inquest was told how Mr. Dienes, who had passed his driving test only three months before the accident, was taking three [actually four] friends to work at the Church of Scientology headquarters in Saint Hill, East Grinstead.
The crash happened after he was following other friends in their red Volkswagen Golf car on the morning of June 5 last year.
A motorist witnessed the two vehicles driving at speed along a side road through Ashdown Forest.
In a statement, eyewitness John Stewart of Croydon, said: "the Volkswagen pulled away from the junction quite quickly and the Maestro pulled out right behind, almost as if both vehicles were attached by a one-foot tightrope."
The inquest at Eastbourne Magistrates' Court was told that the victim's two passengers had told him to slow down several times.
The three [actually four] other people in the Maestro were knocked unconscious in the crash but did not sustain serious injuries [not quite correct: one other boy did suffer bad head injuries but is recovering well; this was correctly stated at the hearing but was slightly mis-reported].
Before recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner David Wadman said: "Russell was an inexperienced driver and was still learning the art of driving. But tragically he had not learned enough.
"There was enough room for the car in front to pull out but no way for the second car to do so."
© 1997, East Grinstead Observer