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Speeding drink-and-drugs driver killed two friends in horror smash

James Tatton
James Tatton

A driver who crashed into a lorry, killing two of his friends, has been handed an eight-year jail sentence.

James Tatton reached speeds estimated at between 112mph (180km/hour) and 126mph (202km/hour) in a 50mph (80km/hour) zone before the fatal crash on the A500 in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, Staffordshire Police said.

Tatton, of Marlow Road in Longton, Stoke, was also banned from driving for nine years by a judge sitting at the city's Crown Court.

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty in July to causing the deaths of Marcus Smith, from Yarnfield near Stone, and Sean Longstaff, from Woodhouse Street in Stoke-on-Trent.

The victims, both aged 22, were passengers in a green Vauxhall Vectra which collided with a heavy goods vehicle on the southbound A500 at Cliffe Vale at around 4.45am.

The court heard Tatton was behind the wheel whilst affected by both drugs and alcohol before the accident in August last year, having been told by friends that he should not drive.

In a statement released after the case, Sergeant Ian Tanner said: "Tatton was driving whilst affected by drink, drugs and was travelling at excessive speed.

"His reckless actions caused the deaths of his friends Marcus and Sean and destroyed their families. Sadly this was the most tragic outcome possible to this incident.

"Motorists need to understand such dangerous driving is simply not acceptable on our roads and those who drive in such a way will face consequences - which can include a lengthy prison sentence."