‘Despicable’ drunk driver crashed his van and went to sleep – leaving his passenger to die
A drunk driver who left his friend to die after crashing into a tree has been jailed.
Paul Nigel Bennett was at the Malton home of his friend, 49 year-old Simon Maving, on the evening of 15 September last year, York Crown Court heard.
After drinking a lot of alcohol, he made the decision to get into his Renault van and drive the pair back to his home in Bridlington.
The van left the road in the village of North Grimston shortly after 11pm and hit a tree. Simon Maving was a passenger in the van and suffered serious injuries in the collision – but instead of calling the emergency services, Bennett climbed into the back of the van and went to sleep.
The vehicle was discovered early the next morning and when emergency services arrived, Simon Maving was pronounced dead.
Three times over the limit
Bennett was treated for his injuries in hospital and a blood sample submitted for toxicology. Analysis showed that he was more than three times the legal drink drive limit when he drove away from Simon’s home in Malton.
Bennett of Teal Garth, Bridlington was yesterday (Tuesday) sentenced at York Crown Court to eight years and seven months in prison after he pleaded guilty to causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink.
“The consequences of Bennett’s actions cannot be underestimated,” said North Yorkshire head of roads policing Inspector Mick Roffe.
“His decision to get behind the wheel of his van and drive that night resulted in the tragic loss of Simon Maving’s life, the impact of which will be felt by Simon’s family and friends forever.
“I hope Bennett’s sentence sends a strong and clear message to anyone thinking about getting behind the wheel after drinking. Doing so is a selfish and thoughtless act which carries severe and lasting consequences.”
Traffic Sergeant Adam Elliott from the forces’s Major Collision Investigation Team said: “Bennett’s total disregard for the safety of his friend and other road users is inexcusable but the fact that following the collision he simply went to sleep instead of calling for help is even more despicable.
“The judge in court commented that Bennett’s driving record of several previous convictions for drink driving offences showed ‘an air of inevitability’ and that he had failed to learn from his past actions which should be a warning to other repeat offenders.
“Bennett’s sentence reflects the severity of his actions and I hope will bring some small comfort to Simon’s family.”