A driver who abandoned his vehicle after crashing into a roundabout and killing his teenage passenger has been jailed.
Tyrone Quinn, 20, had been drinking in Newcastle on the eve of the Ladies Day races with a group of friends that included 17-year-old James Docherty.
In the early hours of the next morning (July 24) the group got into Quinn’s a blue BMW 3 Series car and were caught on camera driving dangerously through the city centre.
They then made their way towards Gateshead but at the roundabout junction of the Redheugh Bridge and Askew Road Quinn lost control causing the BMW to overturn.
Police received the call at around 4am and when they arrived they found front seat passenger James Docherty has suffered fatal injuries. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Quinn was arrested by police but refused to assist their investigation and sat in silence throughout their questioning.
Northumbria Police Motor Patrols officers launched an investigation and were eventually able to identify Quinn as the driver. He was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
He was also charged with causing death whilst disqualified from driving, causing death whilst uninsured, driving whilst unfit through alcohol, driving whilst unfit through drugs and two counts of driving while above the prescribed drug limit.
Quinn, of Hewitson Terrace, Felling, Gateshead, admitted the offences at Newcastle Crown Court and today (Monday) he was jailed for six years nine months. He was also banned from driving for five years, which will start when he is released from prison.
Following the case, police released footage of the BMW being driven earlier in the morning to show the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Senior investigating officer, Sergeant Steve Armstrong said: “We have released this footage to show just how dangerously Quinn was driving on the night of this collision.
“He was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs and was driving in a dangerous manner at high speed in Newcastle city centre on one of the busiest nights of the year without any regard for members of the public or the passengers in his vehicle.
“I do not get any pleasure from a case where a young man has lost his life and our thoughts are with James’ family at what must be an incredibly difficult time for them.
“This is a devastating reminder of how dangerous it can be to drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. People think that they may be invincible but the sad truth is that is not the case.
“The only positive that can come from this case is that it acts as a reminder to other motorists, young drivers in particular, that a vehicle can be a deadly weapon when it is not treated with respect.
“Officers from Motor Patrols and Op Dragoon are committed to identifying those who feel that it is acceptable to drive motor vehicles on the road without complying with the law and we will take positive action against those involved.”
James’ mother Rachel released a statement on behalf of her family following the case and have paid tribute to the teenager who had just left school to start a career as a bricklayer.
They said: “The whole situation does not yet feel real to me. I have mixed emotions of sadness, anger and overall disbelief that James is gone.
“James was 17-years-old when he was taken from us. It is such a waste of a young man who had a positive future ahead of him. There is a sense of emptiness without his presence.
“I often see Ian (James’ father) getting upset and he regularly asks the same question that only Tyrone Quinn can answer: ‘Why would you drive a car when you’re under the influence of drink and drugs?’
“I understand Tyrone Quinn has not assisted the police during their investigation. This has added to our family’s grief, I cannot understand why Tyrone would not help the police investigate the death of his supposed friend.
“His refusal to give any account during police interviews has left us in the dark when all we want is to understand how James was taken from us.
“There is no sentence which could make up for my son being taken away. What I want is to have James back but that isn’t going to happen.”
Anyone who wants to report a motorist who they believe to be a danger on our roads should contact Northumbria Police’s Op Dragoon team by ringing the 101 number.