Teen who never had driving lessons, murdered passenger who crashed into 4×4 he bought for £100 hears court
A teenager who had never had a driving lesson lost control of an out-of-road 4×4 vehicle, labeled a ‘death trap’ and caused a crash that killed a passenger.
Dylan Brunton, then 17, killed passenger Andrew Rowlands when his dangerous driving caused the car to roll over.
His victim was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious head injuries before Brunton fled the scene. Doctors were unable to save the 18-year-old from Consett.
Brunton bought the Daihatsu Terios Tracker for £100 the day before the crash.
The vehicle, which did not have a valid MOT, has since been labeled ‘dangerous’ and not roadworthy.
Despite this, Brunton set out on June 18 last year for a drive around a disused quarry with three passengers.
But his erratic driving caught the attention of an off-duty police officer, who saw the vehicle, which had no rear number plate, lurching and lurching across the road.
The officer stopped the car and spoke to Brunton, who assured him it was “legitimate” and that he would replace the missing plate.
The officer briefly lost sight of the vehicle, Durham Crown Court heard, but a short time later he found the scene of an accident.
The Daihatsu was found astride a fence post, on a right turn outside Low Barcusclose Farm, on the A692 Crookgate Bank, near Tanfield Village.
Dylan Brunton, then 17 years old, bought the Daihatsu Terios Tracker, with no valid MOT, for £100 the day before crashing with it on the A692 near Tanfield Village, Durham Crown Court heard
Passenger Andrew Rowlands was thrown from the car when it overturned and was found unconscious on the road. The 18-year-old (pictured) died later that day with a skull fracture and multiple other serious injuries
The passenger in the back seat, Andrew Rowlands, had been thrown from the car when it rolled over, prosecutor Emma Atkinson told the court.
The 18-year-old was found unconscious on the road as Brunton and two other passengers in the car fled the scene.
Miss Atkinson said other passers-by stopped at the scene until emergency services arrived to take Mr Rowlands to hospital.
But “despite extensive medical and surgical procedures,” the 18-year-old was pronounced dead later that day.
The court learned that he suffered a fractured skull and several other serious injuries in the crash.
Brunton, now 18, of Dene View, East Stanley, (pictured) denied having caused death by careless driving but was convicted in a recent juvenile court trial. He confessed to other charges of not stopping after an accident, no insurance and no driver’s license
Judge James Adkin said victim statements from Mr Rowlands’ parents and sister were “exceptionally difficult to read” but that it would be unfair for them to read “such raw material”.
Miss Atkinson said Brunton and a male passenger were detained as they fled across a field while a female passenger ran away to nearby Tanfield, where she called for a lift.
The court was told that all three were taken to hospital, but no one was seriously injured.
Miss Atkinson said inspection of the vehicle revealed a number of major flaws, two classified as ‘dangerous’, which would have failed an MOT and would have made it difficult to control.
Brunton, of Dene View, East Stanley, denied having caused death by careless driving but was recently convicted in a juvenile court trial.
He confessed to other charges of not stopping after an accident, no insurance and no driver’s license.
The now 18-year-old defendant was sent to the Crown Court for punishment.
David Lamb spoke, soothingly, of Brunton’s “deep regret” and added: “Obviously this defendant really wishes he could turn back the clock to June 17 last year, the day he bought the vehicle in question, what he would drive. the next day, when Andrew was killed.’
Brunton has now been sent to Crown Court (photo Teesside Crown and County Court in Durham, stock image) for sentencing
Mr Lamb also read a letter to the Rowlands family saying he was “very sorry” and that he would “never forgive himself”.
Judge Adkin said: “The vehicle was in a deplorable condition and was clearly not roadworthy.
“It was obviously dangerous driving because it was clear to everyone that it was a death trap.”
He said Brunton made the “cowardly decision to run away after the accident, more concerned with avoiding responsibility for what happened.”
He was sentenced to 32 months in prison at a young offenders’ facility and told Brunton, a roofer, that he considered himself “above the law” for driving such a vehicle without passing an exam or even taking a driving lesson. have had.
He was also banned from driving for three years and four months.
Sergeant Catherine Iley, of the Durham Police Investigation Team, said: ‘This tragic case involving the death of Andrew Rowlands highlights the dangers of using and driving vehicles that are not roadworthy.
“The vehicle driven by Brunton had a number of safety-critical deficiencies that made it a danger to both its occupants and other road users.
“We would like to remind all drivers that it is their responsibility to check and maintain the vehicles they drive, as failure to do so would lead to prosecution or, as in this case, the tragic loss of life.
Most road traffic collisions are preventable and maintaining a vehicle contributes to some degree to reducing risks and maintaining the safety of other road users.
“Had this vehicle been maintained, the loss of Andrew’s life might have been prevented.”