Drink-driver jailed after passenger dies
A man has been jailed for four years for causing death by careless driving while two and a half times over the drink-drive limit.Ryan Marshall, 22, was the driver of a car in which passenger David Ford died when it crashed into a wall at Foulsham in the early hours of February 14.
A man has been jailed for four years for causing death by careless driving while two and a half times over the drink-drive limit.
Ryan Marshall, 22, was the driver of a car in which passenger David Ford died when it crashed into a wall at Foulsham in the early hours of February 14.
Marshall, of Norwich Road, Foxley, had also previously pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine on the same date, and was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Monday.
The court heard that Marshall had an estimated reading of 210mcg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, while the legal limit is 80mcg.
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Cocaine was also found in Marshall's blood and a small amount of the drug was found in his jacket pocket.
The court was told that Mr Ford, 23, who had a three-year-old daughter and was an old friend of Marshall's, had not been wearing a seatbelt when the car crashed into a wall at 29mph as it approached a blind bend, at about 12.20am.
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Prosecuting, Robert Warner said police officers in a marked car had been waiting in Foulsham after receiving information about a possible drink-driver, who was not Marshall.
The officers, however, followed Marshall's car when it turned around and appeared to drive off at speed, but they did not put on their siren or warning lights, and lost track of it. They caught up with the car after it hit a wall in the High Street.
Mr Warner said Marshall was found in the driver's seat and Mr Ford was found dead in the front passenger's seat.
One of the officers noted that Mr Ford, who lived with his parents in Bale Road, Gunthorpe, near Melton Constable, was not wearing a seatbelt, he said.
Marshall was taken to hospital after being arrested and initially made reference to a third party being the driver of the car, before admitting that he had been behind the wheel.
Mr Warner said Marshall had one precious conviction of driving without insurance from May 2008, when he was given a 12-month conditional discharge and six points on his licence.
In mitigation, Michael Clare admitted that Marshall, who was normally “a decent, popular, hard-working guy”, had enjoyed a night out with an old friend, and had “behaved in an immature if not stupid way”.
Mr Clare said: “Marshall had not seen Mr Ford in a long time. Marshall's memory of that day is murky and he has no idea why he drove away from police, who were not even looking for him.
“He pleaded guilty at the preliminary hearing. His remorse is obvious. He cannot turn the clock back, much as he wishes he could. He will have to live with what he has done. He's ashamed and embarrassed.”
Judge Paul Downes told Marshall: “Whatever this court does to you today the loss to the family can never be recovered and your friend cannot be brought back to life. And whatever sentence I impose is going to be no comfort to the family.”
No separate penalty was made for possession of cocaine. Marshall was banned from driving for four years and will not be allowed to drive again until he has passed an extended driving test.