Speeding learner driver won't face charges after passenger's death in A500 horror crash

A heartbroken family has voiced their devastating anguish after a “speeding” learner driver was not prosecuted over their family member’s death. The grieving relatives have spoken out over their loved-one’s death in a crash in Staffordshire almost four years ago. The tragic incident unfolded in 2016 in Cliff Vale, in Staffs.

The passenger died after being catapulted out of the vehicle. Michael Jones was pronounced dead at the scene when the Vauxhall Vectra crashed in the early hours of Christmas Eve, 2016, reports StokeonTrentLive. Now an inquest into the 38-year-old’s death has finally been held after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled that the ‘legal test for a prosecution was not met’.

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The 22-year-old driver was not named at the inquest.

Members of Mr Jones’ family attended the inquest and questioned why the driver – who suffered serious injuries in the collision – has never been prosecuted. Assistant coroner Sarah Murphy apologised to family members for the delay. She said: “I can see how difficult this has been for the family.

I’m sorry it has taken such a long time to proceed to an inquest. “We were awaiting the outcome of any decision from the CPS which will have had to keep the decision under review due to the medical condition of the driver of the vehicle.”

Birmingham Coroner’s Court

PC Roger Wetton, from Staffordshire Police’s forensic collision investigation department, said: “For reasons unknown, the driver moved to the nearside and struck the kerb which caused a hole in a tyre. The rapid deflation reduced the driver’s control of the vehicle.

“The Vectra rubbed along a brick wall, colliding with and flattening roadside furniture and signs. It began to rotate and roll before re-entering the carriageway. It continued to roll and the passenger was ejected.

The passenger seatbelt was not being used. “The vehicle came to rest 132 metres from the initial kerb strike. It appears to have been travelling in excess of the 50mph speed limit.”

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The driver was a provisional licence holder.

But the Vectra was not displaying L plates and Mr Jones, of Nelson Street, Fenton, ‘was not in a position to supervise the driver’. Fellow collision investigator Sergeant Richard Moors gave a summary of the statements police had gathered from witnesses. A truck driver described a car – thought to be the Vectra – go ‘flying past him’ as he approached the A34 slip road.

When he got to Etruria he saw debris from the crash in the road and stopped at the scene. Another witness – a nurse – was also overtaken by the car, which she described as travelling ‘very quickly’. She then noticed debris in the road before seeing the car on its roof.

The inquest heard a passing ambulance stopped at the scene. Paramedics found Mr Jones lying in the road with severe injuries. The driver was still in the upturned car, held upside-down by his seatbelt.

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Mr Moors said: “The witnesses’ evidence would indicate they were overtaken by a vehicle travelling at a very fast speed.

“The driver sustained serious injuries in the collision which resulted in a lengthy stay in hospital with head trauma and other injuries. They were life-changing injuries. “The matter was referred to the CPS and no charges resulted from that.”

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Following the inquest, a CPS spokesman said: “The Crown Prosecution Service carefully considered this case on May 4, 2020 and determined our legal test for a prosecution was not met.

“Should circumstances change and the police obtain further evidence or information to support a prosecution, the police can refer the case back to the CPS to reconsider whether our legal tests are met to authorise criminal proceedings.

No further comments are appropriate at this stage so as not to prejudice any potential proceedings.”

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