A 16-year-old boy was killed and his friend injured when they were struck by a car as they crossed a busy road last night.

The victim, James Pearce, of Robinson Close, Lancing, and two friends were crossing the A259 Bognor Road at Merston, near Chichester, just before 9pm. It is thought they were walking in the carriageway before the accident with a Ford Fiesta near the Bognor Bridge roundabout.

James died at the scene and a 15-year-old suffered cuts and bruises. He is still being treated at St Richard's Hospital, Chichester. The other friend was uninjured.

Stunned residents in Merston say poor lighting on the stretch of road leading to the roundabout has been a cause for concern for several years.

The village pub, the King's Head, closed early after police officers called in to say road access for customers would be restricted. Landlady Jenny Bradfield said: "It's a terrible thing to happen to anyone. It was a very dark night and visibility on the road must have been poor. It's a terrible turning by the roundabout, really dreadful. There are young children in the village and it's a worry for many of us that the road crossing is so bad."

Coun Rebecca Harris, who represents Merston on Chichester District Council, said: "My feelings go out to the parents. It's all absolutely horrendous. I don't know what they must be feeling at this moment."

Police have not released the names of the others involved in the accident. The driver, a 26-year-old man from Portsmouth, is said to be suffering from shock.

A police spokesman said: "This is a terrible tragedy. It's awful that three people of this young age should be involved in such a horrendous collision. We would appeal for anyone in the area at the time of the crash who might have seen something to come forward."

Anyone with information should call PC Mark Adfield at Chichester traffic division on 0845 60 70 999.

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