A ‘show-off’ dad driving three times the speed limit has been jailed after causing the death of his nephew.
Lejan Lancaster-Baxter, 35, was branded an “erratic and dangerous” driver after speeding in his Volkswagen Golf GTI at speeds of up to 80mph in a 30mph zone before ploughing into two cars, Bradford Crown Court heard.
His 19-year-old nephew Brad Aldrige, 19, suffered multiple injuries and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Brad’s cousin Declan Aldrige suffered fractures to his femur and wrist and needed to have surgery on his leg.
Lancaster-Baxter was jailed for two years after admitting causing Brad’s death and causing serious injury to Declan by dangerous driving.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said witnesses described Lancaster Baxter’s driving behind the wheel of the powerful Golf GTI as “erratic and dangerous” and “aggressive”.
He old the court that on February 3, 2019, Lancaster-Baxter had been “showing off” to his passengers while driving his Golf GTI.
At one point, Declan Aldridge had taken a video of the defendant driving above the speed limit and Brad Aldridge had commented: “This is a mental car”.
The court heard how no one in the car had been wearing a seatbelt.
One woman said she estimated the car was going at around 80mph on the 30mph road and was so angered by what she saw that she tried to report it to police.
The court heard that another witness said: “He looked to be accelerating up the road, getting faster. I was half expecting police to be chasing the car.”
Mr Sharp said that Lancaster-Baxter was driving the Golf in the direction of Bradford when the first crash with a Hyundai car happened as he tried to overtake it.
The Golf then smashed into a Nissan Juke, with the force of the impact causing the hatchback to fly into the air and do a full barrel roll.
Lancaster-Baxter was thrown from the vehicle before it landed upside down on the road, bounced and slid about 20 metres, narrowly missing a pedestrian.
Harrowing CCTV footage of the smash was shown in court, along with pictures showing the horrendous damage to both the Golf and the Nissan.
In a statement read to the court, the driver of the Nissan, David Barlow, whose four-year-old son was sitting alongside him and was left covered in glass, said: “I can’t stop thinking about how close my son came to being killed.”
The court heard how Lancaster-Baxter sought to “minimise” his blame and that unusually, Brad Aldridge’s family was not in favour of the prosecution.
Mr Connor Quinn, for Lancaster-Baxter, spoke of the devastating impact of the crash, saying he had “suffered enough”, adding: “He will never trouble these courts again.”
He said the defendant and Brad Aldrige had been more like brothers than nephew and uncle and told the court the family had “suffered enough”.
He also added that the father-of-five suffered PTSD, had no relevant previous convictions and represented a low risk of reoffending.
Judge Andrew Hatton said: “You drove in a way that was palpably dangerous.”
“Those who choose to deliberately drive dangerously and to take risks must know there is a price to pay for it.
“The public are entitled to know that they are protected by the courts.”
Lancaster-Baxter was sentenced to a total of 32 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for more than nine years.
Speaking after, Detective Sergeant Paul Lightowler of the Major Collision Enquiry Team said: “This case stands as a tragic example of the dreadful consequences that driving dangerously can have.
“Bradley was 19 when he died and had his whole life ahead of him.
“He also had a young son, who now will grow up without a father.
“I hope this sends out a clear message that speeding on our roads kills and we will not tolerate people who clearly break the law.”
West Yorkshire Police released a statement from Brad Aldrige’s family which read: “Our hearts are broken.
“It feels like a bad dream, like we’re going to wake up soon and it’s not going to be true.
“How could my precious blue-eyed boy be gone, everyone who ever knew him speak such beautiful words of him, it means so much to us?
“Your mammy and daddy are so proud of our beautiful blue-eyed boy that you became. You are our world.
“You are mine and your daddy’s beginning and you will always be our all and everything. Until we meet again.”