An uninsured driver who fled the scene of a collision, leaving a 12-year-old girl dying in the road, has been jailed.
Hannah Jones, 26, of Bankfield Court, Mirfield, appeared at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday 15th March where she was sentenced to 18 months in prison, after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving and perverting the course of justice on the first day of a trial in December.
A second person – Safeer Iqbal, 32, of Lees Holm, Dewsbury – was also in the vehicle at the time. He was sentenced today to eight months imprisonment after admitting perverting the course of justice at an earlier plea hearing.
The incident occurred on July 6th 2019, at around 10.45pm on the M61 northbound, close to Chorley.
Jones was driving a Vauxhall Corsa and had reached speeds of around 90mph when she collided with the rear of a Nissan Qashqai, which was carrying several members of the same family home from a family event.
Sana Patel, aged 12 and from Blackburn, was sitting in the rear of the Qashqai at the time and was thrown from the vehicle as it overturned.
Jones and Iqbal immediately fled the scene up the motorway embankment and checked into a nearby hotel to hide, while members of the public remained at the scene administering CPR to Sana. Despite their best efforts, Sana died at the scene.
The following day Jones was arrested at an address in Mirfield, while Iqbal handed himself in to police in Preston.
Both initially claimed Iqbal had been driving the vehicle and Jones had been the passenger, however Iqbal admitted in January 2020 that he had agreed to “take the blame” for Jones and that he had been the passenger.
Jones continued to deny being behind the wheel, but officers found deleted text messages on her phone indicating she was driving. An expert witness attributed Jones’ injuries to the driver’s side seatbelt and the explosive deployment of the steering wheel airbag.
In a victim impact statement, Sana’s mother said: “We have still not recovered from the loss of our daughter. She was taken from us in an unimaginably violent and sudden way. Our hearts are left with this giant hole and a light has been extinguished in our life.”
They added: “We as a family will be suffering from this tragic event for the rest of our lives and we miss Sana every day.”
Sgt Marc Glass, from Lancashire’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was one of the most awful scenes I have ever had to attend, and I can only imagine what Sana’s family have gone through since that night. I thank them for their patience and understanding through the necessary stages of this investigation and the court proceedings.
“Rather than checking on the other people involved, Jones and Iqbal fled the scene then lied about which one of them was driving, thereby frustrating the police investigation, and prolonging the family’s suffering.
“I want to recognise the members of the public who provided first aid to Sana and helped her family to safety following the crash, and I thank them for what they did that night.
“Finally, I want to thank the investigation team for their diligence and dedication to finding the truth in what was a challenging investigation."