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A driver who ‘showed a complete disregard for the law’ has been jailed for six years causing the death of a man in a collision near Andover.
Thomas Stewart was twice over the drink-drive limit, uninsured and not properly licensed when he crashed his car on the B3400 on Saturday, March 5, 2011.
The 40-year-old’s Vauxhall Vectra was heading towards Andover when at around 2.10pm he swerved to avoid a slower moving Mercedes in front of him.
Stewart collided head-on with a BMW driven by 80-year-old Ronald Birch who suffered serious injuries and was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital where he passed away on April 12.
His passenger, an 82-year-old woman, and the passenger in the Vectra, a 49-year-old man, both suffered serious injuries and are recovering.
The Mercedes driver, a 51-year-old man, was uninjured.
Sergeant Rob Heard from the Road Death Investigation team at Eastleigh said:
“Our thoughts go out to all involved, particularly the family of Ronald Birch who were very relieved that Stewart pleaded guilty to the offences. They’ve been suffering for the last 10 months since the collision, their lives having been turned upside down.”
The police investigation revealed that Stewart was borrowing the car from a friend. He had no insurance and only a provisional licence and his passenger was not suitable to supervise him. The friend who lent him the car genuinely believed he had a licence and insurance.
Enquiries also showed that Stewart had been drinking all that morning and was twice over the alcohol limit when he crashed, tests showing he had 169mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.
‘Disregard for the law’
Sgt Heard continued: “This was a tragic incident which has forever changed the lives of all those affected.
“Sadly, it could and should have been prevented. Stewart should never have been on the road that day. He showed a complete disregard for the law and everyone around him including Ronald Birch and his partner who were returning home from a shopping trip in Andover.”
Thomas Stewart, 40, previously of Azalea Court, Andover, pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court on January 6. He was sentenced on Friday, January 13th to six years in prison for causing death by careless driving while intoxicated, 18 months concurrent for causing death by unlicensed/uninsured driving and disqualified from driving for 10 years.
Sgt Heard added: “Stewart’s sentence is a warning to anyone else thinking of drink-driving, or driving without insurance or a licence to think about the consequences and think again.
“The Department for Transport estimates that 4 per cent (around 1.4million) of motorists in Great Britain drive uninsured.
“Nationally, more than 400 uninsured vehicles are seized by the police every day, but it’s simply not possible to catch every uninsured driver in this way.
“If you suspect someone is driving illegally, let us know and we’ll take them off the road. By doing so, you could be helping to save a life.”
You can contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.