Lancashire

Naomi Jones detained for Blackpool crash that killed friend

A teenager who killed her best friend when her car hit a tree on a blind bend in Blackpool has been sent to a young offenders' institution.

Naomi Jones' car crashed on Division Lane in July 2011, leaving Elysia Ashworth, 17, with fatal injuries.

At Preston Crown Court, Jones, 19, was ordered to serve to six months, for driving "unacceptably fast".

The defendant, of Wesham, was convicted of careless driving after being cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

As he passed sentence, Judge Christopher Cornwall said the verdict should not be called into question but, in his judgment, it was not far short of dangerous driving.

'Considerable jolt'

Jones admitted to the court she failed to negotiate the left-hand bend on the narrow, uneven road.

The court heard she had hit two significant bumps, in quick succession on the de-restricted road, but did not slow down and then lost control on the bend.

Miss Ashworth, who was sitting in the back of the car, died two days after the crash.

An accident investigator later examined the scene and estimated the speed at point of impact with the tree at between 30mph and 35mph.

It could not be determined what her approach speed was but it must have been greater than 35mph, the jury was told.

Judge Cornwall told her: "There seems to have been every conceivable reason that you should have reduced your speed on that road.

'Showing off'

"There is no doubt in my mind that the considerable jolt you experienced ought to have acted as a warning that your speed was unacceptably fast.

"There was no evidence of braking only a desperate attempt to steer around the corner which failed."

He accepted she was not racing but pointed out "there may however have been an element of showing off to your friends in the car and those following".

He added she was "driving at a wholly unacceptable speed".

A second passenger, Ellen Richardson, suffered two fractured vertebrae in the crash.

Jones, of Carr Drive, was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to take an extended re-test.

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