A DRUG driver who killed his friend during a fatal crash in Runcorn and fled the scene on foot has been jailed.

Haydn Patterson, 30, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 14 May where he was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The 30-year-old, of Barons Close, Widnes, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while over the drug drive limit and under the influence of cocaine and cannabis.

He also admitted to the possession of cocaine and cannabis.

During the hearing the court was told that on Monday October 17, 2022, Patterson had been out with his friend, 41-year-old Kevin Viles, at a pub in Widnes.

The pair spent around two hours in the pub, before leaving at around 5.40pm, in Patterson’s Mini Cooper.

They then drove towards Runcorn, travelling over the Mersey Gateway bridge and onto the Central Expressway.

At around 5.55pm, Patterson turned onto the Southern Expressway, where he lost control of the vehicle, initially driving towards the central reservation, before steering away, resulting in the Mini Cooper rotating across the carriageway and onto a grass verge where it rolled onto the roof and up the embankment.

Following the crash, Patterson climbed out of the car and spoke to a witness at the scene, before fleeing the scene on foot, leaving Kevin in the car with serious injuries.

Emergency services were called to the scene and Kevin was subsequently freed from the car before being taken to Aintree University Hospital.

The dad-of-four battled for 33 days, having sustained sustained severe brain and chest injuries due to the collision, before he sadly died with his family present by his side on Friday, November 18, 2022.

Patterson was subsequently located by officers at his home in Widnes, where he was seen throwing wraps of cocaine and cannabis out of the window, before again attempting to make off on foot, but was quickly located and arrested in relation to the incident.

Following his arrest, Patterson was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure where officers were able to conduct a breath test, which he had initially refused on arrest and take a blood sample.

The results showed that he was under the influence of both cocaine and cannabis at the time of the collision – with both amounts exceeding the specified limits whilst driving.

During questioning, Patterson admitted that he was the driver of the car, but he attempted to claim that the collision had been caused by another vehicle which had driven into his lane – which was disproven by both people who witnessed the incident and the forensic collision investigator.

Despite his denial, he was later charged in relation to the incident.

In an emotional statement made following the death of Kevin, his wife Emma said: "Kev was not only my husband, but my best friend, my soul mate and a shoulder to cry on when I needed it.

"He fought so very hard to heal and recover from his injuries, to be back with me and our four children, Nathan, Jessica, Amber and Kaylee and not forgetting his precious grandson Kairo.

"Sadly Kev lost the battle on the 18th November, with myself and our daughter holding his hand all the way.

"I will forever be grateful for the 33 days we got to spend with you in the hospital praying and hoping every day for a miracle. Life is never going to be the same for any of us without him, he was our big friendly giant, who would do absolutely anything for anyone.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Kevin Viles, 41, was a dad to four childrenKevin Viles, 41, was a dad to four children (Image: Cheshire Police)

"Kev always put people before himself he was selfless and caring. Our kids meant the world to Kev and he would always go above and beyond to ensure they were his number one priority. Although you sleep in heaven now, you’re not that far away, my heart is full of memories and you’re with me every day.

"You lived your life with meaning and with a smile upon your silly face.

"A world that was full of happiness is now an empty place. Our life together had only just begun now our babies had all grown up, but now I’m here doing it all on my own wishing things were so different.

"I’ll never understand why you Kev my husband my one and only true love, had to be taken away so soon from me. I miss your warmth, I miss your amazing smile, I wish I could see your face again even for a little while. I love you forever and a day Kev. In my heart I know that we will be together again in time."

Following the sentencing police constable Liz Thompson, of the Cheshire Police serious and complex collision investigation unit, said:

“Firstly, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Kevin’s family and friends. This has been a long and complex investigation and I hope that the conclusion reached today will provide them with some closure.

“Patterson described Kevin as being like a ‘father figure’, he said that they were close friends and had been socialising together on the day of the incident.

“Yet following the collision, he showed no thought for Kevin, instead all he was bothered about was protecting himself, by fleeing the scene and running home, leaving Kevin seriously injured inside the car.

“After returning home, he continued to show no remorse, instead he was too busy hiding evidence and throwing his drugs out of the window. It was only after his arrest that he finally started to show some regret for his actions.

“During our investigation, we spoke to several people who witnessed the collision and attempted to help Kevin and I would like to thank them for their assistance.

“As part of the investigation, our specialist Forensic Collision Investigator conducted a reconstruction of the collision and found had Patterson applied firm or emergency braking, either instead of or in conjunction with steering, it is likely the severity of injury could have been reduced or the collision prevented.

“Sadly, likely due to the drugs in his system, Patterson did not react in time, and as a result an innocent man lost his life,

“While nothing can be done to bring Kevin back, I hope that his death was not in vain, and that this case will act as a reminder to others about the dangers of driving under the influence of illegal drugs.”