Six-year sentence for Leighton Buzzard driver who killed his own brother from Luton and ex-girlfriend in crash

An uninsured Leighton Buzzard driver who killed his own brother and a girl he was trying to impress when he crashed into a tree was today (June 10) sentenced to six years’ detention.

By News Reporter
Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:40 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 10:47 am

Jordan White, 20, fled the scene and when arrested callously claimed that his dead brother had been behind the wheel.

White had no licence and was over the legal cannabis limit when he crossed double white lines on a hill to overtake an Audi.

The black Corsa, which had fake plates and would have failed an MOT, spun out of control and crashed into a hedge before backing into a tree on Toddington Road, near the village of Tebworth in Bedfordshire.

Victims: Ellie Ogden-Hooper, 19, from Leighton Buzzard, and Reece White, 23, from Luton.

White’s former girlfriend Ellie Ogden-Hooper, 19, from Leighton Buzzard, was thrown from the car and died in a field. His brother Reece Tony White, 23, from Luton, was found dead in the back seat.

The front seat passenger, a 21-year-old man and another rear seat passenger, a 16 year old boy, suffered serious injuries.

White, of Wallis Drive, Leighton Buzzard, appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court having pleading guilty to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving and two of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said: “This defendant was driving a car with 4 other people in it. It overtook another car at speed, crossing double white lines on the crest of a hill. It was an appalling piece of driving.

“He was unlicensed and over the drug-drive limit. Warnings about his driving had been disregarded. He was uninsured and had no MOT. He ran from his friends and his brother, leaving others to help.”

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Mr Weidmann said the crash happened shortly after 3pm on Tuesday, January 18, this year.

White had paid just £400 for the Corsa, which would have failed its MOT. Its airbags did not deploy and it was unroadworthy. Cloned number plates had been placed on it.

He had picked Ellie up from Flitwick and his front seat passenger said he was “driving like a p….” to impress her. He said they had been smoking cannabis all day and White had been showing off.

White only had a provisional licence and none of the others had a full licence to supervise him.

A woman in a Freelander coming in the opposite direction had to brake as she saw the Corsa overtaking the Audi at speed across a double white line on the hill.

Another driver behind her said White looked “genuinely scared” as he tried to control the Corsa. She said it swerved to try to get back in front of the Audi, but spun and crashed. She went to help and noticed a strong smell of “weed.”

The Audi driver Steven Arnold said: “The car was shifting when it overtook me. He started to lose control. I could see it swaying across the road.”

He went on: “I think it spun and went up in the air. It almost seemed to jump and went down the verge on the opposite side of road. Bits of the car were falling off.”

Mr Arnold and another driver Stephen Hewitt, who stopped and tried to help Reece White in the car, are to receive a High Sheriff’s award of £500.

White and the two surviving passengers fled. The 16 year old boy was arrested nearby. Sniffer dogs were deployed and White and the front seat passenger were found hiding in a shed at ten to five that evening.

White, who had suffered multiple fractures, claimed he had been a passenger in the car and his brother was driving. A blood sample taken from him gave a reading of 2.6mg for cannabis - the legal limit being 2mg.

Ellie’s mother said her daughter, who worked as a carer, had everything to look forward to. “As a family we will never get over losing our beautiful Ellie We are in pieces. Our precious memories are all that we have,” she said.

Reece’s family said: “We are devastated at the loss of Reece. He was a much-loved son, brother and grandson.

“He made an impression on everyone he met and leaves a hole in the family that will never be filled. He will be missed forever.”

Defending, Darryl Cherrett said White had been in care since the age of 12, is immature and possibly has ADHD.He said: “He has to live with what he did that day. He expressed genuine remorse for the pain he has caused to Ellie’s family and his own.”

Jailing him, Judge Michael Kay QC said: “I am satisfied at times you were driving too fast and showing off.

“You overtook a car on the brow of a hill. You had no real view of what was coming.

“Having no real instruction or experience of driving you panicked and over steered and lost control.”

The judge went on to say that others stopped to help but he had fled in a “cowardly fashion.”

He said: “In a callous and utterly despicable way you sought to blame your own deceased brother for what occurred. It is almost beyond comprehension that you sought to apportion blame to him to save your own skin.”

The judge banned White from driving for nine years.

Commending the two men who went to help, the judge said: “These two gentlemen became involved and sought to save the life of Reece White. In some small way that ought to be marked.”

He said they will each receive a High Sheriff award £500.

He told White: “You will spend a considerable period of time in custody and you will reflect on what you have done. If you have an ounce of decency, you will change your life.”

Detective Sergeant Ben Heath, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said: “I am glad that White has been found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and will be spending a considerable time behind bars.

“His reckless actions that day claimed the lives of two young people, as well as the life-changing impact the collision has had on the other people involved.

“Speeding and driving under the influence of drugs are just two reasons why collisions turn fatal, and anyone who doesn’t take their safety while driving seriously should look at the serious and devastating consequences that it can have on yours and other people’s lives.

“I also want to thank the members of the public who stopped to help one of the casualties who was still in the car, for their extraordinary kindness and bravery.”