The moment Darryl Anderson, the drunk and brazen driver who killed an eight-month-old boy and his aunt in a 140 mph crash, tells police: ‘I’m not a bad person’

By Rory Tingle, Mailonline Home Affairs Correspondent

17:42 09 Jul 2024, updated 19:32 09 Jul 2024

A drunk driver told police “sometimes mistakes happen” after killing a baby and her aunt when he plowed into their car at 141 mph moments after taking a photo of the speedometer.

Darryl Anderson, 38, failed to help his mother Shalorna Warner frantically search for her baby after eight-month-old Zackary Blades was thrown 160ft from her car, out of his crushed car seat and onto the opposite carriageway of the A1.

The horrific crash between Chester-Le-Street and Durham at 3.15am on May 31 also killed Ms Warner’s sister Karlene, 30, a flight attendant.

Anderson showed shocking disregard for his actions, with a police body camera recording him saying: “I rear-ended another car (sic). Sometimes mistakes happen but I’m not a bad person.”

The murderous driver, who was found to have a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit, continued his sickeningly cruel behaviour at the hospital, where he joked with nurses and made jokes.

Murderous driver Darryl Anderson was filmed telling police that ‘sometimes mistakes happen’ after killing a baby and her aunt
An undated family photo of a smiling Zackary
Karlene Warner was tragically killed in the crash alongside her young nephew
Darryl Anderson, 38, was playing “Russian roulette” with the lives of other drivers when he killed Zackary Blades and the baby’s aunt, flight attendant Karlene Warner, 30.

Horrifying Photo of Anderson’s Smashed Audi

Police at the scene of the May 31 crash, which took place between Chester-le-Street and Durham

When Anderson was given a roadside breathalyzer test to detect alcohol, which he failed

‘I’ll never see my loved ones again, but I will’: Mother’s heartbreaking statement

In her victim impact statement, Shalorna Warner said: “I knew instantly. I had to pick up my dead baby from the side of the road. I hugged him tightly, a hug I will never forget.”

“No words will ever fill the irreparable void that has been left in my heart and life. Zackary was my rainbow baby – he was the light at the end of a tunnel in a very dark time for me and he brought joy, happiness and laughter into my life.”

“My baby’s future, my future, our life together, has been stolen from me. I will never see him look at me and smile at me again. I will not have that luxury. Instead, every second of every day, I relive that night over and over in my head, wondering what my innocent little boy did to deserve this?”

“And to my sister, Karlene, I just have no words. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It’s hard to deal with something that doesn’t seem real – it feels like a nightmare.”

“I will feel the repercussions of this pain for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I will be able to overcome this ordeal. I am scarred, traumatized, petrified of living my life.

“The impact of these events will magnify the difficult times and ruin any good times I might have, because in my heart live Zackary and Karlene, and I will never live a normal life without them again.”

She added: “It is not me who bears this guilt, it is the person who caused this infinite agony who is responsible for it. I hope that the pain of this situation will weigh on them for eternity.”

“Nothing will bring my son and my sister back to me. The only solution for me is that the accused faces the same sentence as me: life imprisonment. The irony of the situation is that I will never see my loved ones again, but he will.”

Anderson took a photo with his phone of his Audi Q5’s dashboard three seconds before impact, which showed it was traveling at 141 mph and the vehicle was flashing a red collision alert.

However, Durham Crown Court heard he was so drunk and distracted he did not even see the Peugeot driven by Ms Warner 308 feet in front of him.

Wiping tears from her face, the devastated mother said she remembered the impact that sent her car spinning.

She looked to her left to see Karlene clearly badly injured in the passenger airbag, but knew she had to try to help Zackary, calling out to Karlene, “I’ll come back for you.”

Ms Warner said: “I ran to the left rear of the car where Zackary should have been, but there was no rear of the car, it was crushed.

“I couldn’t see my baby, I was standing on the wreckage, picking up bits of the car and throwing them around, trying to find him but he wasn’t there. I screamed his name and called 999.

“I saw the other driver and I ran over to him and said, ‘Help, I can’t find my baby.’ I was screaming Zack, Zack.

“He didn’t help me, he never helped me. I started running towards traffic waving my arms and yelling at cars to help me.”

In the opposite lane, a truck driver stopped and advised him not to run towards traffic.

Ms. Warner found Zackary’s car seat and turned it over to find he wasn’t inside. Then, a scream from the truck driver confirmed her worst fears when he said he could see Zackary.

She said: “I heard a cry of pain from the truck driver, he was shouting ‘he’s here, your baby is here’. I ran and found Zackary on the grass.”

“I knew instantly. I had to pick up my dead baby from the side of the road. I hugged him tightly, a hug I will never forget.

“No words can fill the irreparable void that has been left in my heart and life. Zackary was my rainbow baby – he was the light at the end of a tunnel in a very dark time for me and he brought joy, happiness and laughter into my life.”

Turning briefly to Anderson, who refused to raise his head to meet her gaze, she said, “You left behind a broken shell of a woman and a childless mother.”

In mid-flight, the baby was thrown from his seat and landed on the side of the road on the opposite side of the road. He was eventually discovered by a truck driver as his distraught mother waved at oncoming traffic, shouting “Zack, Zack.”

As she realised her son could not have survived the horror, Ms Warner also learned that her sister had died in the passenger seat of the vehicle.

CCTV footage shows Anderson leaving Newcastle Airport car park

Zackary was catapulted 50 metres across the A1M between Chester-le-Street and Durham
Shalorna Warner and Zackary’s father, Jack Blades

After the accident, Anderson told police, “Everybody makes mistakes.” Pictured is the scene after the tragedy

When he later realized the enormity of his actions, Anderson invented a story that he had picked up a mysterious hitchhiker, who was driving the car at the time of impact.

The two cars had left Newcastle International Airport in the early hours of May 31 this year, with Karlene being collected by Ms Warner after a holiday with Zackary “securely strapped into his car seat in the back”.

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Anderson was returning from Antalya where he had been on holiday with his wife. His behaviour had been so bad that she had left him and flown home early.

The couple had not been married long, but when he collected his car keys from a parking attendant, Anderson told him: “I’m going to Bradford to find a new wife.”

Judge Joanne Kidd told him: “You played Russian roulette with the lives of every man, woman and child you encountered on this journey.

“Your level of drunkenness, your aggressive and authoritarian driving, your speed and the use of your phone made a collision with another road user inevitable.

“At a speed of 140 miles per hour, with your foot fully pressed on the accelerator, you were inevitably going to cause serious injury and a probability of death.”

Judge Kidd referred to the heartbreaking statement read to the court by Zackary’s mother, describing the horror of not being able to find him.

Zackary’s aunt, flight attendant Karlene Warner, was also killed in the horrific crash.
Ms Warner was a flight attendant and is pictured here posing in the cockpit of an aircraft

Shalorna Warner told Karlene “I’ll come back for you” but couldn’t reach her in time

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Natalie Horner, of Durham Police’s Collision Investigation Unit, said: “As road policing officers we routinely ask people not to drive above the speed limit.

“We consistently ask people not to use their cell phones while driving. And we consistently ask people not to drive while intoxicated.

“Darryl Anderson was doing all three of these things when he crashed into Shalorna Warner’s car, killing the two passengers, Karlene and baby Zackary.

“For his actions, Anderson was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, but it was his victims and their families who were sentenced to life in prison.

“They are the ones who will spend the rest of their lives mourning the loss of their son, their grandson, their wife, their sister and their mother. And for what?”

Heartbreaking Photos of Young Zackary Provided by His Devastated Family

Zackary was described by his mother as a “rainbow baby”