Beds, Herts & Bucks

Driver jailed for shop crash which killed girl, 15

Wanessa Lewandowska Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Wanessa Lewandowska, 15, died in the crash in High Town Road, Luton, on 9 August

A driver who crashed into a shop, killing a teenage passenger, after failing to stop for police has been jailed for eight years.

Michael Fludgate, 20, was being pursued as he drove through Luton on 9 August.

He ignored pleas from Wanessa Lewandowska, 15, and another passenger to slow down and hit speeds of 80mph (128km/h) in a 20mph (32km/h) limit.

Judge Richard Foster told him: "This was a piece of flagrant and obvious dangerous driving."

Inevitable outcome

Luton Crown Court heard Wanessa and the other passenger had been screaming at Fludgate to slow down or stop as he sped through Luton at 22:20 BST.

He hit a speed hump and crashed the VW Golf into a TV repair shop in High Town Road.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The Volkswagen Golf the teenager was travelling in crashed into a shop

Wanessa was pronounced dead at the scene. Fludgate was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital.

A man, 24, who fled the scene but later went to police was seriously injured.

Fludgate, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing death while uninsured and causing death while unlicenced.

Judge Foster told him: "To any common sensed bystander the outcome was perhaps almost inevitable - that there would be a serious accident.

"You ignored the blue lights, and you disregarded your passengers screaming at you to slow down. Sadly Wanessa was killed. Nothing this court can say or do can bring back her life."

The court heard police attempted to stop Ludgate after seeing him "larking around" but he sped off.

Nicola Shannon, mitigating, said Fludgate "does not minimise the part he played".

He was sentenced to eight years in prison, banned from driving for four years after his release and will have to take an extended driving test.

After the crash, the Independent Police Complaints Commission set up an inquiry, which is ongoing.

Image copyright David Landau
Image caption Candles and flowers were left in High Town Road in memory of the 15-year-old

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