Passenger who fled fatal crash walks free from court

27-year-old Douglas Scott Robertson who died in the collision on North Road, Stokesley on Saturday 19 January 2013.
27-year-old Douglas Scott Robertson who died in the collision on North Road, Stokesley on Saturday 19 January 2013.

A PASSENGER fled the scene of a fatal crash after getting in a stolen 4x4.

Sam Hanlon, 23, from Wingate, was one of three people travelling in a Range Rover when it hit and killed a 27-year-old man.

The vehicle, which had been taken by the 15-year-old driver without consent, was going at 70mph in a 30mph residential street when he it hit Douglas Scott Robertson, who was walking to a social club.

Mr Robertson was dragged for 340ft over waste ground before the Range Rover, which had been taken in Stockton, stopped in a workingmen’s club car park in Stokesley.

Teesside Crown Court heard Hanlon got in the vehicle about 10 minutes before the fatal collision when he was offered a lift by the youth, who he knew.

The driver accelerated hard shortly afterwards when police who were looking for the vehicle sounded their siren.

Prosecutor David Bradshaw said the youth, who cannot be named, lost control and veered off the road and struck a lamppost, knocking it out of the ground and sending it 50ft down the street.

Mr Bradshaw said: “At the time the vehicle collided with the deceased he was walking along the footpath carrying an umbrella minding his own business and making his way towards a social club.

“He was dragged 340ft over some waste ground until the vehicle went through a small wall and tree and hit the side of the working men’s club.

“The deceased was found at the rear of the Range Rover at the side of the building. He was found to be dead at the scene.”

Charles Edward Tyers, of High Lane, Maltby, near Middlesbrough, was locked up for five years after he admitted death by dangerous driving. He was given five years youth detention.

Hanlon, of Ferndale Close, Wingate, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking. He was given a 12-month community order and 200-hours unpaid work.

The car had been taken from a house party in the Stockton area of Teesside in the early hours by the teenage defendant.

After he was arrested, the youth told police his life was over and his family would disown him.

“I have killed somebody’s baby,” he said. “Oh, please, Jesus, no, not this.”

Judge Walford said the victim was a much-loved son, brother and friend whose loss has ruined the lives of his family.

“You took this Range Rover which belonged to someone else,” the judge said. “Why you took it has not been explained.

“You must have taken it for pure devilment, arrogantly believing you could drive it appropriately when you neither had the experience or the qualifications to do so, or not caring what might happen with you behind the wheel.

“The road conditions were treacherous and while you drove it, the car was damaged.”

Witnesses spotted the driver showing off in the Range Rover in the hours before the crash, sounding the horn to children he knew.

He also approached two people in a lay-by and told them he did not know how to fill the car with fuel, and they tried to warn him that a front tyre was rubbing on the wheelarch.

He later got fuel from a petrol station and sped off without paying.

The judge said: “The crash occurred when you were driving at a grossly excessive speed, some 70mph in a 30mph limit, in an attempt to evade the police with pedestrians on the pavement and other vehicles on the road.

“The factors combined make what happened almost inevitable.”

It was a “ghastly irony” that in sentencing the judge had to consider the young defendant’s welfare “when you had so little regard for the welfare of others that morning”.