Prestatyn crash: Man caused best friend's death by crashing into tree at nearly 100mph

Simon Jones' defence told a court that the 28-year-old “will forever carry the burden of killing his best friend". Credit: North Wales Police/Media Wales

A man caused the death of his best friend in a car crash by driving into a tree at almost 100mph.

Simon Jones, 28, from Wrexham, was driving a silver BMW along the A548 in Gronant, Prestatyn, in the early hours of April 17 last year.

Mold Crown Court heard how another motorist saw the vehicle speeding along the road at about 4:30am before it swerved and careered off the road. It landed on a grass embankment, smashing into a tree.

22-year-old Jack Daniel Elden Chahal, who was a passenger in the car, was rushed to Glan Clwyd Hospital but his injuries proved fatal several hours later.

As a result of the crash, the defendant was also hospitalised with "serious injuries" that included a fractured neck and back.

The court heard that an expert had analysed CCTV and determined that the defendant must have been driving at around 96mph - almost twice the speed limit.

It was also disclosed in court that the vehicle's rear brakes were "worn through to metal" and deemed a serious defect that "may have affected the vehicle's stopping distance".

Prosecutor David Mainstone told the judge that Jones had never held a full driving licence.

They added that a sample of blood was taken from the defendant - due to suspicions that he had been drinking before driving that night - whilst he was unconscious in hospital. Jones later refused permission for it to be tested.

Mr Chahal's mother said she has struggled to come to terms with her son's death and still calls his phone expecting an answer. Credit: North Wales Police/Media Wales

A tribute issued by Mr Chahal's family after his death described him as a "caring, funny and beautiful soul with an infectious smile" who was fiercely protective of his family.

In court on Friday, his sisters added that their big brother was a "best friend" and role model.The court heard a statement read out on behalf of Mr Chahal’s mother, in which she said that "half of [her] died that day along with Jack". She said she was still "very much in denial" about her son being gone, telling the court that she still calls his phone in the hope of an answer.Simon Rogers, defending, said his client “will forever carry the burden of killing his best friend" and knows this guilt will not ease over time.

The former builder accepted that prison was going to be the only option and asked that the sentence be fair.Judge Niclas Parry sent Jones, who admitted causing the death of his friend by dangerous driving, to prison for five years and also banned him from driving for six-and-a-half years. The 28-year-old must pass an extended re-test before being allowed behind the wheel again.Judge Parry told the defendant: “It was almost inevitable that your attitude towards the rules of the road - that they apply to others and not you - would end up badly. This was so avoidable, so unnecessary and such a waste of a young life."