RECKLESS and unlicensed Stourbridge drivers involved in a frightening high speed road race that lead to the death of a former Dudley College student have been jailed for a total of 14 years.

Joseph Chance was driving at 78mph and Dylan Stringer was just two seconds behind him as they hurtled along the Hagley Road when Stringer lost control of his car and ploughed into a bus stop and a wall.

His wrecked Ford Focus overturned and Nadine Foster, his girlfriend and front seat passenger, suffered “catastrophic” injuries.

Miss Foster had given birth to a baby boy just five months earlier and was rushed to hospital, but the 19-year-old died four days later.

Judge Michael Challinor said Chance, who like Stringer had been drinking earlier in Chicagos, had not been involved in the collision but he was equally responsible for the tragedy.

“This was a race,” said the judge. “You lead the way, it was you who set the pace and you knew Stringer was right behind your car trying to keep up with you.”

The judge, who jailed 25-year-old Chance, of Murcroft Road, for eight years, said the only reason Stringer hit 78mph in what was a 30mph limit was because he had been driving at a grossly excessive speed on wet road conditions.

The pair had no insurance, and the judge added: “The terrible reality in this case is that neither of you should have been behind the wheel of a car at all.”

He described Chance, whose previous convictions including violence and aggravated vehicle taking, as a “determined criminal” who had lied at the scene of the accident to try and avoid responsibility.

Chance had denied causing the death of Miss Foster by driving dangerously but he was convicted by a jury after they retired to consider the evidence at the end of his trial.

Stringer, aged 24, of Wychbury Road, had admitted causing the death by driving dangerously and he was put behind bars for six years.

The judge further disqualified Chance from driving for 14 years and told him: “You need to be kept off the road until you mature and no longer pose a risk to members of the public.”

Stringer was banned from driving for 13 years by the judge who stressed it was their racing that lead to the death of Miss Foster.

In a victim impact statement, Melissa Bayliss, the mother of Miss Foster, described how the family had been devastated by her loss.

John Bayliss, Miss Foster’s grandfather, also paid a heartfelt tribute, while Simone Smith, an aunt, said in another victim impact statement, the family had been badly affected by her death.

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court the two men had been in a “grotesquely speeding convoy” and the driving of Chance, a learner driver who was behind the wheel of his £300 Renault Clio, had caused a significant risk of danger.

He said Chance overtook a vehicle as they were racing and when Stringer also tried to get past he lost control of his Focus. The car slewed across the road before what was a “very significant collision.”

“There was no doubt the alcohol both men drank impaired their ability to drive”, said Mr Spratt.

Stringer was just below the legal alcohol limit while Chance was just over, but tests on both men were not carried out until some time after the incident.

Richard Butcher, defending Stringer, who lost an eye in the crash, said the incident would haunt him for the rest of his life, adding: “Obviously this was an act of utter stupidity for him to drive in that way.”

He said Stringer also sustained other significant injuries, he said: “The memory of that fateful night will always be with him. That an entirely blameless young woman should have lost her life in this way is tragic.”

Sunit Sandhu, defending Chance, told the court they were both genuinely remorseful for the tragedy and said Chance was still trying to come to terms with what happened.

The judge told the family of Miss Foster, who sat in the public galley, no sentence he could pass would reflect their terrible loss – “a loss that was as significant now as it was on the night she died”.

He told the defendants: “Long after you have been released, the catastrophic effects of what you did will continue to echo through the lives of Miss Foster’s family.”