A 27-year-old man has been jailed for more than five years after he mowed down a cyclist while drink driving, and then fled the scene.
The prosecution told Southampton Crown Court that the man drove off after knocking his 32-year-old victim off his bike, knowing that he had spent the afternoon and evening drinking and was over the limit. He had left a pub in Totton just half-an-hour before the accident. The cyclist died from his injuries later that day.
The driver called his father following the collision, telling him where the accident had happened. His father went to the scene and, on realising the seriousness of the situation, told police where to find his son.
Hampshire police arrested the driver on suspicion of drink driving at 3.40am on 22 December 2017. The Serious Collision Investigation Unit then went about piecing together the events of that day.
Evidence obtained from the driver’s mobile phone established that he had been in three pubs during the day, and officers visited each pub to retrieve CCTV footage which showed him drinking a number of alcoholic beverages.
They established that between 2.50pm and 11.19pm the man had drunk at least six pints of beer and a shot of Jagermeister.
Toxicology tests could not prove he was over the limit at the time of the accident, however there was sufficient evidence for him to be charged, and further expert analysis of a breath sample taken five hours after the incident indicated that, at the time of the accident, the man would have been over the drink driving limit.
Following the trial, PC Lucy Hawkins of the SCIU said: “[The driver] fled the scene that night leaving [the victim] fatally injured by the roadside.
“At that moment all he was worried about was himself and how he could avoid being caught drunk behind the wheel.
“However, what he didn’t bank on was that we would carry out a full and thorough investigation that would clearly prove his drink-driving was the cause of this tragic collision.
“The CCTV clearly shows him drinking several different drinks, which would have put him significantly over the drink-drive limit.
“While our alcohol tests play a significant role in prosecuting drink-drivers, they are not the only way we can prove a motorist is over the limit and this case proves that.
“I hope that this case sends a clear message that we will take all action necessary to ensure that drink-drivers face justice, no matter what attempts they make to avoid it.
“[His victim] would still be alive today if [he] had not made the reckless decision to drink and drive that night. It is never worth the risk – the consequences can be fatal.”
After pleading guilty to driving without due care while over the prescribed limit, the man was sentenced to five years and four months in prison, and banned from driving for nine years with an extended retest should he wish to drive again.
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