Ribchester drug driver left gravely injured friend at crash scene in Grimsargh

A drug taking motorist who fled a crash scene and left his critically injured friend trapped has been jailed for five years.
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Jake Beatty, 22, tragically died from multiple injuries, including to his head and neck, a month later, on Christmas Eve 2018.

New father Sean Harrison Dowbekin, 27, of Preston Road, Ribchester, only admitted he caused Jake's death by careless driving under the influence of drugs around two and half years after the crash, which happened at 6am on November 24, 2018.

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He had lied he took the drugs after the event, and before his arrest four hours later.

Jake BeattyJake Beatty
Jake Beatty
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In a harrowing victim statement read to Preston Crown Court, Jake's grieving mother, Donna Horrocks, said it had " sickened her how someone could leave another human being seriously injured" after officers told her the driver had ran off without getting help.

Prosecuting, Peter Warne said Dowbekin had consumed cannabis and cocaine while the two friends had been socialising with others the previous evening.

He told the court they had visited a petrol station to buy cigarettes before making the fatal journey back towards Longridge in which Dowbekin lost control on a left hand bend on Preston Road and struck the kerb.

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His Audi rotated clockwise and collided with a post box, dislodging it from its foundations, causing the car to roll over before coming to rest in the junction with Elston Lane.

An accident report determined there was nothing wrong with the car but that it had been speeding at more than 40mph in a 30mph zone.

Other witnesses heard the car approaching at speed before the sound of the collision and called the emergency services.

One man came across the scene on his way to work and tried to gently pull Mr Beatty out of the vehicle, fearing a fire.

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Mr Warne said: " Mr Dowbekin was found by police later that morning after a member of the public told them where he was and he was arrested at 9.40am."

Dowbekin pleaded guilty to causing his death by careless driving.

In her statement, Ms Horrocks said the incident had not only affected her life but the lives of those closest to Jack including his younger sister Keely.

She said: "Jake was the typical big brother as he often sorted out Keely's problems. He was very protective of her and she was of him.

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"Jake did everything at 100mph and kept me, his dad and gran on our toes."

She said life was "never dull or quiet" with his demands such as rump steaks for tea, or ironing his clothes, and that he had the "cheesiest grin".

She added: " He had a sense of humour I adored and miss every day since he was taken from us."

The court heard when the mum arrived at the hospital she did not recognise her son until Keely pointed out his trainers.

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He was in critical care for a month and his family visited every day to help bathe him and care for him as he "fought hard" to stay with them.

She said he "hopes he will knock on the door every day" and dsescruebdher torment that she couldn't help him and of seeing the image of him taking his last breath.

Defending, Mr James said Dowbekin carries a heavy burden of knowing his action had caused such harm, adding: " It has never left him from that day. It will never leave him."

"He is appalled at himself for having left the scene that morning.

"He was clearly not thinking calmly."

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Imposing a ban of five years and an extended retest, Judge Simon Medland QC said: " No sentence passed by any court can be the equivalent of a life lost or a family bereaved.

"Jake's death has had an appalling impact on his family who are left behind.

"They celebrate his life but they deeply mourn his death, which was caused by you and was entirely avoidable.

"But for the fact you chose to drive your vehicle under the influence of drugs, Jake Beatty would be alive today.

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"His death, though unintended by you, is therefore your fault."

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