JCB driver who killed ‘beloved husband’ in tragic Lancashire crash had traces of cocaine in his system

A drug-driver who caused the death of “beloved husband, brother, father and grandfather” in a crash in the Trough of Bowland has been jailed.

By Sean Gleaves
Friday, 4th March 2022, 6:02 pm
Updated Saturday, 5th March 2022, 1:53 pm

Dr Anthony Hindle – a retired senior lecturer at Lancaster University – went out for an afternoon ride on his Suzuki scooter on May 31, 2020.

As he rode along Hollins Lane, a JCB Telehandler driven by Joshua Whittaker pulled out from a construction site into the road.

Anthony’s motorcycle collided with the JCB’s steel bucket, causing him to be thrown off the bike and across the carriageway.

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The 79-year-old sadly died from his injuries at the scene.

Enquiries revealed that Whitaker did not have a licence to cover his use of the JCB vehicle or insurance and when arrested, he was found to have traces of cocaine in his system over the legal limit.

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Whitaker pleaded not guilty to charges of causing death by careless driving whilst unfit through drugs and causing death by driving whilst unlicenced or uninsured.

Joshua Whittaker was jailed for 42 months and disqualified from driving for five years.

At a later hearing on February 4, 2022, he changed his plea to guilty in respect of the causing death by careless driving whilst unfit through drugs and the causing death by driving whilst unlicenced or uninsured was later lied on file.

Whitaker was also sentenced for dangerous driving, disqualified driving and driving with excess alcohol, in relation to an incident that occurred on October 7, 2021.

Police signalled him to stop after he was spotted driving at dangerously high speeds on the M55, but he continued onto James Towers Way after speeding through a red light at the motorway exit.

Officers later found the vehicle had collided with a hedge in a nearby street.

Dr Anthony Hindl pictured with Christine - his wife of nearly 60 years Christine. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Whitaker pleaded guilty to the offences on November 9, 2021, and the case was adjourned to be sentenced with the other matter.

Whittaker, of Higher Lane, Scorton, was jailed for three years and six months for all offences and disqualified from driving for five years after appearing at Preston Crown Court on Friday, March 4.

Sgt Martin Wilcock, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "This collision resulted in the death of a much-loved man and shows all too clearly the terrible consequences of driving any vehicle under influence of drink or drugs.

“Whittaker’s reckless actions on that fateful day has impacted on many lives – not only those who loved and cherished Dr Hindle but also on Whittaker himself and his family.

Anthony veered right at the last minute to try to avoid the collision but was struck by the JCB’s bucket. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

“My thoughts today are with Dr Hindle’s loved ones and all of those affected by this tragedy and I hope that today’s sentence will both give them some sense of comfort and serve as a warning to others of the dreadful consequences that can result from driving while impaired through drink or drugs.”

Cathryn Mackie, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: “This was an incredibly sad case that resulted in the death of Mr Hindle, a much-loved husband, father and grandfather.

“Whitaker had not taken the expected safety precautions, there was no warning signage or banksman to assist him and warn other road users.

“He pulled out of the junction when he clearly couldn’t see if the road was clear."

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