Jersey father-of-one run over and killed by 'suspected drink-driver' in Los Angeles

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A HEARTBROKEN family have today paid tribute to a ‘loving’ husband and father who was killed by a suspected drink-driver in Los Angeles.

Jonathan Gales (36), whose wife is expecting their second child, was reportedly hit by a car being driven the wrong way down a one-way street as he crossed a road.

Another man was treated for severe but non-life-threatening injuries.

The 39-year-old motorist reportedly drove away from the scene before crashing head-on into another vehicle and was then deliberately blocked in by another driver until the LAPD arrived.

Mr Gales – a Bafta-award-winning animation and visual effects director – was visiting one of his business partners in LA after working in Tennessee on an advert for car manufacturer Kia when the accident happened on Friday.

James Gales, Jonathan’s father, 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.

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

Mr Gales, who was born in Jersey and went to St Christopher’s School and Victoria College before studying architecture at the University of Brighton, leaves behind wife Claire Pepper and their one-year-old son, Finley Pepper Gales. Their second child is due in April.

The couple lived in London where Mr Gales worked in the film industry, winning a Bafta for his role in a trailer video for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

His father, mother Julie and two brothers still live in Jersey.

Mrs Pepper said she received an email on Saturday morning from an LAPD detective asking her to call him and when she did, he broke the devastating news.

‘He had been on a work trip to Memphis with Kia cars and he told me it was a lovely project and described it as a moving and positive experience,’ she said.

‘He then decided to extend his trip and go to Los Angeles to visit one of his business partners and drop in on the edit for a film produced by Netflix, which they are working on,’ she added.

The couple were together for 16 years and got engaged at Grève de Lecq beach in 2015, but Mrs Pepper explained that the proposal was meant to happen at their favourite beach – Plémont.

‘I was doing a cliff-path walk and was meant to meet him at Plémont, but got tired so asked him to meet me at Grève de Lecq which foiled his plan to propose at Plémont,’ she said.

Julie Gales, Jonathan’s mother, said that the couple visited Jersey multiple times each year and that Jonathan liked to cycle with the Caesarean Cycle Club when he returned.

‘They were both such outdoors people so would always run, cycle and swim when in Jersey. Jonathan always cycled with the club when he came back,’ she said.

According to an article in the LA Times, 39-year-old Joseph Hansen Madarang has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The article said: ‘Madarang had been driving the wrong way on 9th, a one-way street where traffic moves eastbound, when the crash occurred, police 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, police said.

‘After hitting the men, Madarang continued driving west, crashing head-on with another vehicle, police said. Community members kept him from leaving the area; one person used his car to block Madarang from escaping, the LAPD said.

‘Madarang is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center. Bail is set at $130,000.’

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