Teenager locked up over crash which killed her friend

Elysia Ashworth
Elysia Ashworth
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A teenager has been sent to a young offenders institution after she admitted causing the death of her friend when she crashed her car into a tree.

Naomi Jones, 19, of Carr Drive, Wesham, was sentenced to six months on Thursday after admitting causing the death of Elysia Ashworth, 17, from St Annes.

Naomi and Elysia were close friends from the age of 13, regularly had sleepovers at each other’s houses and Naomi had gone on holiday to Cyprus with Elysia’s family three years ago.

But both families were torn apart when Jones lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa on Division Lane, Marton, after hitting two bumps on the narrow, uneven road.

Elysia, a sixth form pupil at King Edward and Queen Mary School, who was a rear passenger in the car, suffered multiple injuries and died two days after the crash in Blackburn Hospital, where her parents, Maxine and Chris Ashworth, had kept a bedside vigil.

Another girl in the car, Ellen Richardson, also suffered serious injuries in the collision but is recovering and studying at university.

Jones broke her left arm and right ankle in the crash, requiring reconstructive surgery.

She had had to use a wheelchair for two months and undergo counselling and psychotherapy after she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Acting police sergeant Adam Lloyd, from Blackpool road policing unit, said: “It was a tragic incident.

“Three young friends went for a drive out and because of the careless nature of the driving of one of the friends it has ruined three lives.

“It has killed one of the girls, the driver has to live with the consequences and the third girl was also quite badly injured.

“No sentence that was passed down by the judge would equate to the loss of Elly - no sentence can equate to the loss of a young life.

“It shows what can happen if you don’t pay enough attention on the road.”

Blackpool Sixth Form College student Jones admitted causing the death of Elysia by careless driving on the first day of her trial last month in which she was cleared of dangerous driving.

The court heard Jones’s mother had bought her the car as a present and she had passed her driving test four months before the collision.

The teenager failed to negotiate a left-hand bend on Division Lane on the day of the crash on July 11 last year.

An accident investigator who examined the scene estimated the speed at point of impact with the tree at between 30mph and 35mph.

It could not be determined what her approach speed was but it must have been greater than 35mph, the jury was told.

Sentencing Jones at Preston Crown Court, Judge Christopher Cornwall said he accepted she was not racing but pointed out “there may however have been an element of showing off to your friends in the car and those following”.

He added: “I do not accept this is an accident that could have happened to anyone.”

Jones was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to take an extended re-test.