A 20-YEAR-OLD who died after trying to drive home whilst drunk was ‘deeply upset’ about his ex-girlfriend going nightclubbing in Accrington with his pal, an inquest heard.
Market trader Oliver Jones was three times over the drink drive limit and had taken cocaine when he lost control of his Citroen Saxo on the A59 Clitheroe Road in Sawley in the early hours of October 26, Ribble Valley Coroner’s Court heard.
He died from multiple injuries after crashing into a stone column and bridge.
He had been due to share a room with Gabriella Pashley after the pair attended a wedding reception at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Clayton-le-Moors the previous evening.
But in the early hours, Gabriella and Oliver’s friend of ten years, Wade Halstead, wanted to extend the evening by going to a nightclub in Accrington, the inquest heard yesterday.
They both told the inquest they invited Oliver and others to join them, but he was playing football the next day and did not want to go.
Oliver, who lived in Settle, then made nearly 30 phone calls to Gabriella and Wade between 11.30pm and 3.30am, as well as a text message to Gabriella which said ‘why you being so bad, please ring me’.
But Gabriella told the inquest she did not hear the calls and then lost her handbag and phone.
She added: “We had split up a month or two before, but we were still really good friends. He tried to make me stay but I wanted to go. He was getting a little angry but I thought he would go back to bed.”
Back at the hotel Oliver was seen with blood on his hands and torn clothes, and had told a friend he had smashed his car window, the inquest heard.
Wade said he was unaware of Oliver being upset, saying he ‘seemed fine’ when he spoke to him on the phone as they arrived in Accrington.
He and Gabriella got back to the hotel at about 4am or 5am and stayed in the same room, by which time it was likely that Oliver had left, the inquest heard.
Crash investigators said Oliver was driving at about 60mph, the legal limit for the road, when the collision happened at 4.48am.
As well as the alcohol and drugs, the slightly low pressure of his car tyres could have been a contributing factor to the loss of control, the inquest heard.
Mum Carol Jones said Oliver had previously lost his licence due to dangerous driving and successfully had retaken his test. He had ‘sensibly’ booked a room at the hotel, as he knew he would be drinking.
She said she was ‘shocked and horrified’ by his actions as she knew he was ‘trying to be good’.
Derek Baker, assistant coroner for Blackburn, said of the crash: “I can’t ignore the high level of alcohol in his blood stream, I think that will be one of the main reasons. What’s harder for me is why he took the decision to drive at all when he knew he was over the limit. It does suggest either an emergency or he was deeply upset about something.”
He found Oliver had died in a road traffic collision.
Oliver’s dad Trevor said after the hearing in Clitheroe: “He was a very respectful lad and was quite sensible really, but young people need to take the dangers of driving more seriously. It’s just a waste isn’t it. They were behaving like adults but they are kids.”