Teenager killed his friend after Dukes of Hazzard-style prank went tragically wrong

Harrison Walker, 19, crushed the skull of pal Garret Hurst, 19, after he jumped onto his vehicle in a pub car park because "it seemed funny at the time."
Harrison Walker, 19, crushed the skull of pal Garret Hurst, 19, after he jumped onto his vehicle in a pub car park because "it seemed funny at the time."
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A teenage driver is facing jail for killing his friend who fell from the bonnet beneath the wheels of his car when a Dukes of Hazzard-style prank went tragically wrong.

Harrison Walker, 19, crushed the skull of pal Garret Hurst, 19, after he jumped onto his vehicle in a pub car park because "it seemed funny at the time."

A court heard Walker had driven around with Mr Hurst on the bonnet of his Ford Fiesta at around 5mph but he lost his grip and slipped to the ground.

The wheel went over Mr Hurst's head, causing multiple skull fractures and "an un-survivable brain injury'" from which he died three days later.

On Wednesday (23/10) Walker was found guilty of causing death by careless driving following a trial at Warwick Crown Court.

He was cleared of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving but was warned by a judge to still expect jail when he is sentenced.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said: "The overwhelming likelihood is that he will go straight to custody. I will consider all options, but he must prepare himself."

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After granting Walker bail and imposing an interim driving ban, the judge told him: "You must expect a custodial sentence."

The court heard the accident occurred after Walker, who was 17 at the time, and his girlfriend had gone to the Crows Nest pub in Nuneaton, Warks., on June 3 last year.

They met friends including Garret and his partner and when they left at 9.30pm Walker agreed to give them a lift home.

He and his girlfriend, Garret's girlfriend and another friend went to his car but Garret was a little behind them - and Walker pretended to drive off without him.

He drove round the car park, and when Garret went over to the car he jumped on the bonnet, facing the windscreen and holding on by the lip of the bonnet with his legs.

Prosecutor Cathlyn Orchard said: "Harrison Walker made what proved to be a fatal decision, and drove off.

"According to one of the occupants it was something they had done before.

"Harrison Walker did not deliberately run Garret Hurst over, and you may think Garret Hurst's own actions probably contributed to his death.

"But Harrison Walker was the driver of the vehicle, and he alone was responsible for the quality of his driving, and the prosecution say his driving fell below that to be expected, and that that contributed to Garret Hurst's death."

Playing harrowing CCTV from a car park camera, Miss Orchard said Walker was not driving fast but his decision to drive with Garret on the bonnet was dangerous.

He stopped briefly and then drove off again, and as he made a right turn on the car park, Garret slipped from the bonnet and went under the wheels of the car.

Walker immediately stopped and they all got out of the car and, with other people rushing over to help, they lifted the car off Garret and dragged him out.

Garret was rushed to hospital where a CT scan revealed multiple skull fractures and a catastrophic brain injury and, despite an emergency operation, he later died.

Giving evidence, Walker said: "It's something I've got to live with now.

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"As soon as I saw him fall off my judgement was to stop the car to see if he was OK."

He said he felt the car hitting his friend's skull, and added: "The only thing that has kept me going is that I never meant to move the car."

Delroy Henry, defending, suggested the judge "may be assisted by a pre-sentence report."

He said Walker, of Bedworth, Warks., had completed all the assessments to join the Navy, with the exception of an aspect of communication because of a stammer.