British film director and father killed and catapulted into the air by drunk driver driving the wrong way down the road

2 December 2022, 18:39 | Updated: 2 December 2022, 19:47

Jonathan Gales
Jonathan Gales. Picture: NBC

By Kit Heren

A British film director and father has been killed by a drunk driver who catapulted him into the air while driving the wrong way down the road in Los Angeles.

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Local police said BAFTA winner Jonathan Gales, whose wife is expecting their second child, was killed in the collision on November 19, while crossing the road.

Another man was hit in the collision and suffered serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

A 39-year-old driver reportedly tried to flee the scene but crashed into another car. He has since been arrested.

A spokesman for the LAPD said: "One of the pedestrians, a 36-year-old man, died from his injuries; the other, a 32-year-old man, suffered severe injuries. Both were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk at the time of the collision.

Jonathan Gales
Jonathan Gales. Picture: Jonathan Gales

"After hitting the men, the driver continued crashing head-on with another vehicle. Local people detained him and one driver blocked the car belonging to the suspect who is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center on bail of $130,000.

Tributes have poured in for Mr Gales, who was originally from Jersey, one of the Channel Islands.

His father James said: "He has been an inspiration to all those who were fortunate enough to meet him whether in creation, sport, or leisure.

"He was a caring, thoughtful and loving husband and father, a bubbly personality with a fascination for world culture.

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"He had many, many friends who, along with his close, and extended family, will sorely miss him."

Factory Fifteen, the film and animation company that Gales co-founded, posted a statement on its Instagram page. They said: "It is with deep sadness that we announce the death on the 19th November, of our co-founder, colleague, and friend Jonathan Gales."

The scene of the crash
The scene of the crash. Picture: NBC

The statement added that the two remaining partners had worked together for 15 years, after meeting at university.

They said: "We loved working with Jono, who approached both his job and his hobbies with unbounded curiosity, enjoying the research, the process and the mastery as much as the completed project. Working proactively and without ego, he provided a steadfast creative partner to us both.

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"It's difficult to express the synergy between the three of us. Our collaboration was absolutely intuitive and one of total trust from day one."

Mr Gales, who won a BAFTA for his work on a trailer for the 2020 Olympics, was in LA on business after shooting an advert for car brand Kia in Tennessee.