Bridgwater driver jailed

Luke Hawkes, of Wadham Close, Bridgwater, appeared at Taunton Crown Court today (Friday 27 January). Hawkes, 28, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

He had been driving a white Ford Transit van at high speed down the A38 Taunton Road on Tuesday 8 November last year. Hawkes was involved in a minor road traffic collision on the A38 Taunton Road, near the Showground Roundabout. He then left the scene driving towards Bridgwater.

Then he drove through a red light and collided with two cars which had the right-of-way at a junction. Bethany Branson a 19 year old passenger in the first car Hawkes collided was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. Her family have paid tribute to their ‘beautiful’ and ‘adored little lady’ following the sentencing.

The court heard how Hawkes had shown no remorse for his actions. He refused to complete a breathalyser or swab test for drugs and alcohol at the roadside. He was recorded on body warn video saying: “I hope I killed someone. Oh well, you know what, I will get three, four, five years. Hopefully I killed them.

He has been jailed for 10 years. He has also been handed a driving disqualification for 12 years and seven months.

Hawkes’ sentence is among the first to take place under new sentencing guidelines. These allow judges to give tougher sentences for dangerous and careless driving deaths. The maximum term moves from 14 years to life imprisonment for dangerous driving.

His Honour Judge Paul Cook said: “You can tell this was a prolonged, consistent and deliberate course of driving. It was obvious that you where drunk as I have seen the state of your intoxication on a number of videos. It was very clear that Bethany was a bubbly and infectious person, destined for a life of giving which has shattered the hearts of the family.”

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