South West Wales

Swansea death crash drugs driver Owen Clements jailed

Owen Clements Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption Owen Clements claimed he had swerved to avoid a badger

A driver who took cocaine and cannabis before crashing his car into a tree and killing two of his friends has been jailed for four years.

Owen Clements was speeding and on the wrong side of the road when his VW Golf veered off the road in Llanrhidian, Gower, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Jonathan Knoedl, 22, and James Holder, 17, died in the September 2012 crash.

Clements, 27, of Lougher, Swansea, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving by a jury.

The court heard his car crashed just after missing a Land Rover.

The driver of that vehicle, Roger Whyte, said: "It was very erratic, moving from side to side at very high speed."

The car hit a tree and exploded moments after Clements and passing motorists had pulled the passengers from the wreckage.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption James Holder and Jonathan Knoedl died at the scene in Llanrhidian

Clements denied he was to blame and told police he had swerved around a badger.

But a blood sample taken more than three-and-a-half hours after he was taken to hospital showed traces of cannabis and cocaine in his system.

In a victim impact statement Peter Knoedl, Jonathan's father, said Clements has shown a "severe level of arrogance".

Judge Christopher Vosper said: "What is clear is that you were driving too fast and were on the wrong side of the road and failed to negotiate a relatively shallow bend."

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