Teenager cleared of death by dangerous driving

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A driver has been found not guilty on two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, following a crash near Slinfold last year.

Prosecutors alleged that Brett Hewson, 19, of Coombe Hill, Billingshurst, was racing against William Richardson, 18, of Hayes Lane, Slinfold, when Mr Richardson’s car left the road on the A264 near Slinfold.

Mr Richardson died in the crash, and passenger Asa Caudill, 19, of Arun Road, Billingshurst, died of his injuries the next day.

Hewson was acquitted by a jury at Lewes Crown Court on Friday.

However, during the trial he had pleaded guilty to a separate count of dangerous driving - while giving evidence he admitted to making a dangerous overtaking maneouver a few minutes before the crash.

He was given a one year driving ban, and ordered to pay fines and costs of £250. He will have to take an extended driving test before regaining his licence.

A statement from Sussex Police said: “The court heard the Peugeot was travelling at nearly 70mph while negotiating a bend in a 40mph zone. Earlier the car had left the Billingshurst area together with an Opel Astra being driven by Hewson.

“Both cars had been travelling at speed, up the A29 and then down the A264 towards Slinfold. Witness testimony highlighted excessive speed and dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, two of which almost resulted in head-on collisions.

“The prosecution contended that it was a case of two cars racing on public roads.”

Speaking after the hearing, Sergeant Alan Spicer, of Sussex’s road policing unit, said: “There are absolutely no winners in this case. A community has been devastated by the deaths of two popular young men who had their lives ahead of them, and I doubt their families will ever come to terms with their loss.

“This case should serve as a reminder that driving which may seem to be a bit of a laugh at the time can have devastating consequences, and has no place on the roads.”

For full story, see this week’s County Times.