Canadian oil millionaire,philanthropist Ron Carey killed in U.K. highway autocrash while participating in the London to Brighton vintage car race on Sunday in his 116-year-old vintage car
The 80-year-old philanthropist was killed hours into the race in a collision with an lorry near Surrey after accidentally venturing onto the M23 motorway
Carey with his wife Billi in the passenger seat was at the wheel of 1903 Knox Runabout ‘Old Porcupine’ vehicle taking part in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
Carey reportedly took a wrong turn off the official race route and strayed onto the M23
Latest reports on Monday say Billi Carey is in a stable condition at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London.
Carey’s friend Rick Pikulski told CTV News Calgary: ‘I’ve known Ron for almost 40 years and he was very well-respected and well-liked. He’s a tremendous loss.
‘He was an avid collector. He had a passion. He was very well-traveled and would go on these vintage car rallies all the time. This was something he very much enjoyed.’
80-year-old Ron Carey was the founder of oil supply company J&L Supply and was also a major contributor to vintage vehicles at two museums, Gasoline Alley and Pioneer Acres.
The Alberta based businessman is well-known for the classic cars he has donated to museums, along with old trucks, gas pumps, signs and other items from farms and auctions. He reportedly has a trophy room with one of the biggest and best sheep collections in the world, with 36 species as well as 24 from the Capra (goat) family.
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Carey was orphaned as a baby and was taken in by his mother’s grandparents. His biography says at 17 he went to work on the oil rigs in winter, while in the summer he was involved in road construction.
‘I was never without a job. When the rigs were operating, I was on one. When they were shut down, I would get a job doing whatever was available,’ he said.
Working his way up the career ladder with various drilling contractors, in 1973 he struck out with his own oil field services supply company, J&L Supply.
He is also said to have a trophy room with one of the biggest and best sheep collections in the world, with 36 species as well as 24 from the Capra (goat) family.
‘The car had left the route, which does not include the M23 where the collision took place. We are doing all we can to support the family concerned and are working with the police.’
The crash happened at the junction of the A23 and the M23, at Hooley, Surrey, at around 10am.
Carey it is believed may have taken the wrong lane and ended up on the M23, instead on staying on the official route, which avoids the motorway network.
A spokesman for Surrey Police said: ‘We can confirm that a man has sadly died following a collision on the southbound carriageway of the M23 near J7 Hooley.
‘The driver of the car, an 80-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the collision and a female passenger has been taken to hospital by ambulance with serious injuries. Police have notified the man’s next of kin.’
The motorway was closed after the crash causing long tailbacks. Police appealed for anyone with information or dash-cam footage to come forward.
The four-seater rear-wheel drive Knox Runabout was designed by Harry A Knox – one of the pioneers of the horseless carriage industry in the US – and initially sold for $2,000.
They were known as the Knox Waterless because of the air cooling system, or more familiarly the ‘Old Porcupine’. One model fetched around $68,500 at auction in 2012.
Local resident Jocelyn Gregory, who saw the crash, criticized the organisers for poor signage and a lack of stewards on the route.
‘There were not clear enough signs at the junction,’ she said. ‘If you are not familiar with the area, then it is an easy mistake to make. It was not organised properly. It is a huge junction. There should have been stewards.
‘When the lorry hit, they flew up into the air like rag dolls. It was awful. I am not sure how the other passenger was still alive.’
More than 400 vehicles dating from before 1905 were registered in this year’s run. Television gardener Alan Titchmarsh was among those taking part.
The rally dates back to 1927 and commemorates the Emancipation Run of 1896 which marked the new-found freedom of motorists after the speed limit was raised to 14mph and the need for a man carrying a red flag to walk ahead of cars when they were being driven was abolished.
The 60-mile run began in London’s Hyde Park at dawn, with the route taking drivers down the A23 through Gatwick, Crawley and Burgess Hill before the first car arrived at Madeira Drive, Brighton, shortly after 10am.