A van driver who killed a schoolgirl while high on nitrous oxide and recording on his phone has been sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving.
Lancashire Police said that during the 35-minute journey which ended in a crash, there were numerous close calls with other vehicles, occasions where Hughes was driving into the hard shoulder, straddling between lanes and in one instance his van bounced off a kerb at the edge of the carriageway at over 60mph.
Hughes’ Mercedes Sprinter van plunged five metres into the ravine below where he was thrown from the vehicle, escaping with relatively minor injuries.
Bonny, however, suffered severe injuries, and despite the efforts of medical staff, died at Wythenshaw Hospital the next day.
She was due to have dinner with her family in Great Harwood that evening as they had recently moved to the area.
Hughes, a courier, of Haddington Drive, Manchester, admitted causing death by dangerous driving when he appeared at Preston Crown Court on 17 August.
On Monday, he was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison and banned from driving for eight years and nine months.
In an emotional tribute, Bonny’s family said: “Bonny was an amazing daughter who was kind, loving and always wanted to spend time with her family and friends. She loved doing all the things that teenagers do especially dancing, singing, shopping and making TikTok videos that we treasure.
“We cherish the memories of her and the joy she brought us for the 15 years that she was in our lives. We all miss her so much and would do anything to have her back.
“Cameron had one job that day – to get Bonny home to us safely. But he made dangerous choices that led to her death and cost us the chance to watch her fully blossom into the beautiful young woman she was becoming.
“Bonny – I am so proud to be your mum. The love and laughter that you bought into our lives can never be replaced. And even though we are now apart, my hand is always held out if you ever need to hold it.”
Sergeant Laura Kendall, from Lancashire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said “Bonny was a much-loved bubbly teenager whose life has been cruelly taken away. My heart goes out to her family and friends who have been so affected by her tragic loss.
“Cameron Hughes is entirely responsible for what happened that day in July. He chose to take nitrous oxide while driving, to use his mobile phone at the wheel and to drive dangerously. These avoidable actions led to the devastating collision that caused the death of Bonny.”
Sergeant Matt Davidson, also from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, added: “Too often we see the aftermath of drivers under the influence of nitrous oxide.
“It is seen by many to be a harmless drug but as shown here, the consequences of misusing it can be fatal. On 8th November 2023, nitrous oxide will become a controlled Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
“We welcome this news in the hope that it deters this dangerous behaviour and prevents other families having to go through what Bonny’s are.”