Warton driver who took cocaine and drank before horrific van crash which killed teenage passenger jailed

A driver who took cocaine and drank before losing control of his van and killing a teenager passenger in Warton has been jailed.

By Sean Gleaves
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 4:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th June 2022, 6:32 pm

Ashley Donald was injured when the van he was travelling in as a passenger crashed in Lodge Lane shortly after 1am on June 26, 2021.

The 19-year-old was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for treatment and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

The van’s driver – Andrew Smalley, 22, of Station Road, Warton – appeared before Preston Crown Court on Thursday (June 16).

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Smalley was sentenced to six years and four months imprisonment after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

He was also disqualified from driving for seven years and two months and will required to take a re-test prior to being allowed to hold or obtain a licence.

In a statement after the sentencing hearing, Mr Donald’s family said: “The loss of Ashley has devastated all of us. There will always be something missing.

“We are happy with how the case has been conducted by the Police and CPS.

Andrew Smalley consumed “approximately five pints of Stella” and cocaine prior to the fatal collision (Credit: Lancashire Police)

“Whatever sentence Smalley received will not bring Ashley back.

“We would like to thank the community for the support everyone has given us.

“The family would appreciate some privacy at this time.”

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Ashley Donald received a number of injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital

The incident occurred when Smalley left the Chequers social club in Warton after consuming “approximately five pints of Stella” and cocaine.

Smalley got into his two-seat Ford Transit Connect van, with Mr Donald sitting in the front passenger seat.

Another passenger sat on Mr Donald’s knee and two more sat in the rear of the van which contained tools and gardening equipment.

The van set off down Lodge Lane towards another party, with the manner of driving described by witnesses as too fast and erratic.

Despite the passengers shouting at Smalley to slow down, he could not hear them due to the loud music being played in the vehicle.

Smalley lost control of the van, causing it to swerve across the road before rolling onto its roof and finally coming to a rest in a ditch.

Mr Donald received a number of injuries as a result of the collision and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.

Sgt Steve Hardman of Lancashire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was a terrible piece of driving which resulted in a young man losing his life.

“Smalley chose to drive his van having been drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

“The consequences were horrific and our thoughts are with Ashley Donald’s family.”