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12 June 2017, 13:01
A drink driver who caused a fatal collision in East Dorset has been jailed for five years and four months.
Benjamin Harvey Marsh, 29 and of Surrey Road in Bournemouth, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Thursday 8 June 2017 after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and driving with an alcohol level above the legal limit.
He was also banned from driving for seven years and eight months and it was ordered he would have to take an extended driving test before getting his licence back.
The collision occurred at around 2.10am on Saturday 8 October 2016 on Ringwood Road in Three Legged Cross.
Marsh was returning from a night out in Bournemouth town centre where he had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol.
As Marsh drove his Ford Ranger along Ringwood Road he approached a heavy goods vehicle which was being driven in the same direction. As he attempted to overtake the HGV, Marsh lost control of his car and collided with the back of a Ford Transit van which was travelling in front of the HGV.
The force of the collision caused the Ford Transit van and Marsh’s car to roll and come to rest in the road.
The driver of the Ford Transit van – a 49-year-old man from the Shepton Mallet area – was found lying in the road having sustained significant injuries. He was taken to Southampton Hospital where he sadly died.
Following the collision, Marsh fled the area and hid for around five hours before approaching officers at the scene. During that time he hid some of his clothing and phoned a friend to tell them what had happened.
After his arrest Marsh provided a sample of blood which showed his blood alcohol level would have been almost three times the legal limit at the time of the collision. He also had traces of benzoylecgonine in his blood which is a cocaine derivative.
Police Sergeant Nikki Burt, of the traffic unit, said: “Benjamin Marsh drank a considerable amount of alcohol before he made the reckless decision to get behind the wheel.
“His mindless actions resulted in a serious collision which claimed the life of a much-loved and hard-working family man.
“Time and time again we warn motorists of the dangers of getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It can lead to devastating consequences.
“The summer drink and drug drive campaign is currently underway and throughout this month officers will be requesting breath tests from all drivers involved in road traffic collisions, irrespective of whether or not they suspect an offence.
“Our message is very simple – drink or drug driving kills.”
As in previous campaigns, anyone charged with a drink or drug driving-related offence during the campaign will have their name and court appearance details released to the media. Custody images of those convicted could also be issued.
For non-urgent matters, or to pass information about someone who regularly drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, please go to www.dorset.police.uk and follow the ‘Do it online’ function. Here you can pass all the details to Dorset Police via the online enquiry form. Members of the public can also email email@example.com or call 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
If you suspect someone is driving under the influence, dial 999 immediately.
From Dorset Police