Drunk Dales man who died in crash 'was upset when girlfriend went nightclubbing', inquest hears

First published in News

A 20-year-old Dales man who died after trying to drive home while drunk was deeply upset about his ex-girlfriend going nightclubbing with his pal, an inquest heard.

Market trader Oliver Jones, from Settle, was three times over the drink-drive limit and had taken cocaine when he lost control of his Citroen Saxo on the A59 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 night before.

But in the early hours, Gabriella and Oliver’s friend Wade Halstead went to a nightclub in Accrington, the inquest heard. 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.

The inquest heard Oliver made nearly 30 phone calls to Gabriella and Wade between 11.30pm and 3.30am, as well as sending a text message to Gabriella. Gabriella told the inquest she did not hear the calls, then lost her handbag and phone.

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 tyres could have been a contributing factor to losing control.

Mum Carol Jones said Oliver had previously lost his licence due to dangerous driving and had successfully retaken his test.

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: “I can’t ignore the high level of alcohol in his bloodstream. 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 that Oliver had died in a road-traffic collision.

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