Drunk Audi driver took picture of speedometer at 226km/h before killing baby and aunt

A drunk Audi driver was taking pictures of his dashboard at 141mph (226km/h) before smashing into a family car and killing an eight-month-old baby.

Darryl Jason Anderson was behind the wheel of an Audi Q5 when he was involved in the crash[1] between Chester-le-Street and Durham in north east England on May 31, 2024. The horror smash resulted in the tragic deaths of baby Zackary Blades and his auntie, Karlene Warner, aged 30, who were travelling in a Peugeot being driven by Zackary’s mum, Shalorna Warner.

Shalorna, from Northern Ireland[2], sustained minor injuries before being taken to hospital for treatment. Karlene was due to start a career as a cabin crew member and had flown into Newcastle Airport before being picked up by Shalorna. That same night, Anderson had flown into the same airport from Antalya after behaving “erratically” with his wife and returning to the UK on his own.

On Tuesday, Anderson, of Clarell Walk, Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, appeared at Durham Crown Court[5] to be sentenced for two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.[6] The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges last week.

The court heard that Shalorna Warner went to pick up Karlene Warner from Newcastle Airport in the early hours of the morning. Karlene had returned early from holiday to start work as cabin crew and in the rear of the Peugeot was eight-month-old Zackary.

Karlene Warner, who died along with her eight-month-old nephew Zackary Blades
Karlene Warner, who died along with her eight-month-old nephew Zackary Blades
Zackary Blades
Zackary Blades was just eight months old

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said that when Karlene was picked up, the family were on their way home to Co Durham[7] through Newcastle city centre, and followed a diversion due to A1 works. They later joined the A1(M) near to Washington services.

Ms Dowling said that around the same time, Anderson had flown into Newcastle from Antalya, Turkey, after “acting erratically” on holiday with his wife. He returned to England without her. The court heard that he had been drinking alcohol on the flight and was drunk[8], but still took the decision to pick up his keys to his Audi from the front desk of the airport.

Darryl Anderson
Darryl Anderson, who was almost three times over the limit

Ms Dowling said staff at the front desk thought Anderson “smelled of alcohol but didn’t seem drunk”. He also told staff his wife had left him but that he was “going to get another one”. He then drove off from the airport in his Audi[9] and CCTV showed Shalorna’s Peugeot and Anderson’s Audi crossing the Tyne Bridge minutes apart. Anderson then made his way to the A194 and overshot a junction.

Ms Dowling said that Anderson was “taking photographs of his dashboard while speeding at 141mph”. She continued: “After the picture was taken, the defendant collided with the Peugeot. The collision was catastrophic, killing [Zackary and Karlene] instantly.

The horrifying crash destroyed the Peugeot, with the back of the vehicle being completely crumpled in. A passing lorry driver then saw a distressed Shalorna in the middle of the road. He pulled over as Shalorna told him she “couldn’t find her son”.

The lorry driver tragically found Zachary’s lifeless body on the hard shoulder – the baby had been thrown from the car due to the high-speed impact. Both Zachary and Karlene died at the scene.


  1. ^ crash (www.irishmirror.ie)
  2. ^ Northern Ireland (www.irishmirror.ie)
  3. ^ Woman, 70s, killed in collision with truck (www.irishmirror.ie)
  4. ^ Mass brawl breaks out on Ryanair ‘flight from hell’ (www.irishmirror.ie)
  5. ^ Durham Crown Court (www.irishmirror.ie)
  6. ^ dangerous driving. (www.irishmirror.ie)
  7. ^ Co Durham (www.irishmirror.ie)
  8. ^ drunk (www.irishmirror.ie)
  9. ^ Audi (www.irishmirror.ie)
  10. ^ alcohol (www.irishmirror.ie)