Learner driver killed friend in collision with van

Jay Gilbert.
Jay Gilbert.

An uninsured learner driver killed a friend when he pulled out of a pub car park straight into the path of an oncoming van, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Teenager Jay Gilbert was not supervised by a qualified driver and had no L plates when he was involved in the collision which killed his front seat passenger 18-year-old Joshua Reed. A second passenger was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries.

Joshua, who lived in Flinders Road, Donington, worked as a builder’s labourer.

Stuart Lody, prosecuting, said that Gilbert was among a group of friends who visited Newark Car Auctions where one of his mates purchased a Rover car.

The friend drove to Newark in a Suzuki Swift which Gilbert then drove on the return journey.

The men travelled in convoy stopping off at the car park of the Tally Ho pub on the A15 at Aswarby near Sleaford to check out a problem with the Rover.

As Gilbert left the car park he drove straight into the path of an oncoming van, which was unable to avoid a collision.

Mr Lody said: “He was the holder of a provisional driving licence. Astonishingly he said he did not know about the requirement to have L plates fitted on a car he was driving. He also said he did not realise he had to have a qualified driver sitting with him.

“It is accepted he must have looked, possibly to the right first and then left and then looked right again and pulled out into the path of the van the driver of which had no time whatsoever to react and a collision occurred.”

After customers and staff at the pub went to help Gilbert left the scene but was arrested later.

On Friday, Gilbert, 18, of Frampton Place, Boston, admitted causing the death of Joshua Reed by dangerous driving on 6 October 2011. He was sent to a young offenders’ institution for 27 months and banned from driving for three years.

Recorder Gareth Evans QC told him: “It has to be immediate custody. You pulled out in front of a van coming towards you. An experienced driver would not have done what you did. A collision was inevitable and as a result of that you killed someone.”

Michael Cranmer-Brown, defending, said Gilbert, who was only 17 at the time of the fatal crash, was full of remorse, having lost a close friend.

He said Gilbert’s lack of driving experience and lack of awareness contributed to what happened, adding: “It was a momentary lack of attention through his inexperience that caused the collision.

“He was reasonably badly injured himself. He had a severe break to his arm and that had to be operated on.”

Mr Cranmer-Brown said that Gilbert had also suffered retribution within the community having his injured arm broken again when he was attacked.