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Drunk teen filmed hanging off car bonnet at 50mph

This is the shocking moment a drunk teenager was filmed on Snapchat hanging onto a car bonnet at 50mph on snowy roads.

Oliver Barton was captured by co-defendant and 'main cameraman' Connor Fleming in the early hours of January 24 after a drinking session, a court heard.

Fleming also filmed Joseph Clayton in a separate incident as he 'perched himself half out' of a blue VW Polo and 'sit on the top of the drivers door hanging out of the car'.

Judge Simon Medland QC said it was a 'miracle' that no-one in the cars was injured and that their 'conduct was utterly disgraceful and dangerous almost beyond belief'.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker told Burnley Crown Court that emergence services were initially called to a road traffic collision at the roundabout of Bocholt Way and Bacup Road in Rawtenstall at 12.15am on January 24.

Credit: MEN Syndication

A red VW Polo driven by over-the-limit Lucas Blanchard had been travelling from the direction of Waterfoot when it went onto the wrong side of the road, mounted the kerb and hit a lamppost. Fleming and Barton were passengers in the vehicle but there were 'no independent witnesses to the accident prepared to provide statements', the court heard. However Mr Parker said police were approached by a witness who said that he had seen 'torch lights' in the red Polo and in another vehicle 'that he thought was travelling in convoy with it'. Police seized the mobile phones of all four defendants and found a Snapchat story saved on Fleming's device.

Credit: MEN Syndication

That shows not the whole conduct of the defendants that evening, but it is apparent that the filming of these defendants recovered are mere snapshots of their behaviour. There was no footage of the actually crash but there are effectively extracts of windows in time of their offending. They had been in various pubs. There were photographs and films of pints of lager on the table.

– Prosecutor Stephen Parker

The Snapchat video showed separate incidents in the red Polo driven by Blanchard and the blue Polo driven by Clayton.

What is shown on the footage is Clayton, who had been the driver of that vehicle, get from the drivers seat and perch himself half out of the vehicle, sitting on the top of the drivers door hanging out of the car. At the same time Fleming, who is the front seat passenger, is both filming the conduct and also taking hold of the steering wheel of the blue car because the co-defendant Clayton of course doesn't have his hands on the wheel. They are both outside the car.

– Prosecutor Stephen Parker
Credit: MEN Syndication

Describing the incident in the red Polo, Mr Parker said:

On this occasion Blanchard is the driver, Fleming is once again acting as cameraman filming from the back of the car, and Oliver Barton is at times a front seat passenger and at times a passenger on the bonnet of the vehicle. It is driven at speed throughout the Rossendale Valley in the early hours of the morning with the temperature at or about freezing and with snow on the ground. When [Barton] is on the bonnet they reach speeds of approximately 50mph. When he is back inside the vehicle there are points when it is 60mph and points when it goes beyond well over 60mph. There is reference by the defendants [in the camera video] at one point saying they are doing 90mph and then correcting it by saying it might be 70mph. By their own comments they are going significantly in excess of the speed limits. They are doing double the speed limits if not more so. It's not possible to quantify if all the roads are 30mph zones or 40mph zones.

– Prosecutor Stephen Parker
  • Blanchard, 20, of Roundhill Lane, Haslingden, Fleming, 20, of Crabtree Buildings, Whitewell Bottom, and Clayton, 19, of Albert Terrace, Bacup, all pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
  • Fleming also admitted using a mobile phone while driving and Blanchard pleaded guilty to drink driving after providing a reading of 72mg in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.
  • Barton, 19, of Pleasant View, Waterfoot, pleaded guilty at an earlier magistrates hearing to allowing himself to be carried on part of a vehicle while in motion. He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Judge Medland QC said Blanchard, Fleming and Clayton are 'are all young men of previous good character with comparatively stable social lives and reasonable work records'. Before any of their barristers could offer mitigation, he told the court:

The maximum sentence for dangerous driving is two years imprisonment. I have to adhere to the sentencing guidelines and also the imposition guidelines, also have to have regard to authority from the Court of Appeal that the court should not view a suspended sentence as being an easy option. It is a critical difference between a community order and a form of custodial sentence, even if suspended. The outcome of that thinking process in my mind is that I'm going to impose high level community orders against all three of them. Not because I have any sympathy for them but I believe in law it's the right thing to do. All three of them will be having a very quiet Christmas indeed and will be doing some unpaid work.

– Judge Simon Medland QC

Blanchard, Fleming and Clayton were all given 12-month community orders with unpaid work requirements, driving bans and electronically monitored curfews until January 2, 2020.

The boys posted pictures of them out drinking before the incident Credit: MEN Syndication

You are 19 or 20 years old and if it's any help to you let me tell you this. When I was your age a very good friend of mine had a brother slightly older than him and he drank too much and he got in a car. The car went over a roundabout and he ended up killing one of his passengers and giving himself such serious injuries that his father had to turn the life support machine off in hospital. So he died as well. The fact that the three of you are sitting in this dock effectively uninjured is a miracle which you don't deserve. Your conduct was utterly disgraceful on that night and dangerous almost beyond belief.

How you didn't seriously injure somebody I will never understand. Further, you thought it right and amusing to make that part of a Snapchat story, all accompanied by sparkling pictures of pints of lager.You obviously thought it was a right laugh. I trust as you sit in the Crown Court now as convicted criminals, I hope that you understand how far wrong you are. You are all young men with promising futures, decent backgrounds, a reasonable working record and a social existence which is way more comfortable than most people could dream of. I hope that as you look at how you were behaving there in your smart cars that you realise just how far wrong you all are in what you did. May I thank your families for the support they have given you today and I trust that they also will rub into you the comments I have made as to your conduct.

– Judge Simon Medland QC