Midland businessmen die in Florida hit and run
Two Midland businessmen have been killed by a hit-and-run Porsche driver that was involved in an illegal street race in Florida.
Father-of-two Craig Elford, 39, and father-of-three Kenneth Watkinson, 48, were mown down as they walked back to their hotel near Fort Lauderdale beach.
Mr Watkinson, who lived with his family near Leamington, in Warwickshire, and Mr Elford, from Banbury, in Oxfordshire, were both killed instantly just yards from the Courtyard Marriott hotel where they were staying.
The pair were in the United States to recruit people for a healthcare company. They are both listed as directors of the Stratford-based Ingala Healthcare Ltd and the Warwick-based Concept Medical Ltd.
A visitor to an American website paid tribute to Mr Watkinson.
He said: “Kenneth was a father to three children, and I am fortunate enough to of known Ken very well. He lit up every party, family event and social event he attended. He will be sadly missed, a great friend and a great triathlete.”
Another caller to the Birmingham Post said the men were well-known names in the pharmaceutical industry and he added that people who knew them were “distraught” at the news.
Mr Elford’s wife Claire and daughters Charlotte, three, and ten-week-old baby Olivia are thought to be staying with relatives.
Neighbours at their home in the village of Ratley, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, said he was a ‘devoted family man’.
One neighbour said: “He was devoted to his family, only last week I saw him playing with his daughter in the snow.
“This will be a terrible blow for the village. It is a very tight-knit community as everybody knows Craig and Claire.”
Police say the driver, who was racing another sports car on the 30mph road, fled after the crash.
Witnesses described seeing the cars hurtling along at 100mph in the early hours of Friday. Police believe the Porsche lost control and swerved on to the beach-front pavement, hitting the men from behind.
Police in Florida are still searching for the two drivers and one of the cars involved in the hit-and-run.
The white Porsche GT2 was found abandoned with damage to the windscreen and bodywork.
Police said that they had identified the owner of the £110,000 car, which was not reported stolen before the incident, and that they expected to make an arrest within 24 hours.
British consular officials have been liaising with police to arrange for the men’s bodies to be returned to the UK.