A GRANGE Moor teenager has been fined and banned from driving for two years after killing his best friend in a car crash.
Samuel David Brunton, 18, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
He was fined £750 and banned from driving for two years.
His best friend, 17-year-old Alexander Welcer, died when Brunton crashed his 1.8-litre Honda Civic car on New Road at Middlestown on July 25 last year.
Brunton and Alexander were best friends, who had met while attending Silcoates School in Wakefield. They often stayed each other’s houses and on July 25, Alexander was staying at Brunton’s home in Grange Moor.
They had gone into Huddersfield together to go bowling with two friends.
At 10.30pm, they left Huddersfield and Brunton dropped off the two friends in Kirkburton.
He and Alexander were heading home to Grange Moor when Alexander received a phone call from a female friend and agreed to meet her in Ossett.
They were driving there when, at 10.45pm, Brunton lost control of the car as he rounded a left-hand bend near the National Coal Mining Museum at Middlestown.
The car hit a wall and then spun back into the road, hitting a Vauxhall Cavalier travelling in the opposite direction.
Prosecutor David Taylor told the court that accident investigator John Green said the speed of the Honda was at least 42mph.
He said: “The Honda would have been travelling at a speed not less than 42mph. It is likely to be higher than 42mph, but he is not able to put any top figure on it. If he had been travelling at the 40mph speed limit at the bend and had he carried out an emergency brake, the Honda would have stopped some 3m prior to colliding with the wall.”
Alexander, described as a “wonderful character who was full of fun”, was cut free of the wreckage and taken to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. He died just after midnight.
Brunton, who had passed his test in April last year, was uninjured, but remembers nothing about the accident.
In a statement to police, he said: “I have no recollection of the accident or how I got out of my car or anything else.”
He was arrested and breathalysed at the scene. Though he had drunk two pints of lager while with his friends, he passed the breath test.
Brunton’s solicitor, Alan Greaves, said the two other passengers on the night had not noticed anything reckless about his driving and had not felt unsafe.
He said Brunton, who is now studying at Manchester University, was devastated over the loss of his friend.
“They were two young boys with their futures in front of them, going for a night out with their friends. That evening ended in tragedy, one life was lost, the other was devastated.
“As far as Samuel Brunton is concerned, every day on waking and before going to bed at night Alex is in his mind and that will be with him for the rest of his life.
“No punishment that this court can impose will compare against what he has suffered already and what he will carry with him.”
Brunton’s parents and Alexander’s parents were in court to see him sentenced.
Deputy District Judge Pascoe expressed his condolences to Alexander’s family, who were in court.
He added: “Any fine that I can impose will never reflect the consequences of what happened that night.”