Driver had five lagers the night be­fore se­ri­ous crash

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View - By Chris Hunter

A van driver who left a man with se­ri­ous in­juries af­ter crash­ing into his car while over the drinkdrive limit has been jailed.

An­drew Mitchell, 54, crashed his white Tran­sit van into a red Ford Fi­esta, on the A20 Hythe Road in Smeeth at 6.15am on March 26 last year.

The col­li­sion left the Fi­esta’s driver James Set­ter­field with frac­tures to his leg, face and fin­gers, a lac­er­ated spleen, a dis­lo­cated el­bow and a punc­tured lung.

Mitchell, from Eltham in south east Lon­don, who suf­fered se­ri­ous leg and hip in­juries in the crash, later pleaded guilty to caus­ing se­ri­ous in­jury by dan­ger­ous driv­ing and to drink-driv­ing.

Can­ter­bury Crown Court heard that vis­i­bil­ity was good at the time of the crash, and that Mr Mitchell would have had 12 sec­onds to see Mr Set­ter­field’s car be­fore col­lid­ing with it.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Lisa Wil­son said Mitchell ac­cepted the se­ri­ous­ness of the crime, was re­morse­ful, and apol­o­gised to Mr Set­ter­field and his fam­ily.

He had also been se­ri­ously in­jured and was likely to need a hip re­place­ment due to the like­li­hood of arthri­tis de­vel­op­ing from his in­juries.

But Judge James O’Mahony said he had been reck­less to get be­hind the wheel af­ter drink­ing ap­prox­i­mately five pints of lager the night be­fore, and hav­ing only four hours sleep be­fore get­ting be­hind the wheel to drive at 3am.

“You just ut­terly failed to take ac­count of or see the ve­hi­cle driven by Mr Set­ter­field and that re­sulted in you em­bed­ding your ve­hi­cle into his, caus­ing him very se­ri­ous in­jury,” said Judge O’Mahony.

He also noted that Mitchell had two pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for drink-driv­ing, al­beit from over 17 years ago.

“You must have known it was mad­ness to drink so much at night and drive so early,” he said.

“Of course I ap­pre­ci­ate that five pints of lager on a Fri­day night for some peo­ple is not a huge amount, but it cer­tainly is if you’re driv­ing the next day early in the morn­ing.”

He sen­tenced Mitchell to 28 months in prison, and dis­qual­i­fied him from driv­ing for three years and two months.

The scene of the ac­ci­dent in Smeeth

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