A hung-over driver who was still over the limit when he caused a fatal crash 19 hours after his last drink has today been jailed.
Tradesman Peter Newbrook fell asleep and ploughed his van into the back of a car on the A19 the day after he’d been watching a football match. The “massive impact” pushed the car off the road and into a tree.
The passenger, 76-year-old Julia Golightly, was seriously injured and slipped into a coma. Three days later, she died from her injuries.
In a poignant statement as Newbrook was led away to prison, Mrs Golightly’s family said: “His decision to get into his van that day after a heavy and late night of drinking has destroyed us.”
Newbrook told police he had been drinking while watching the Argentina match on TV the day before the collision, which happened near Osmotherly in June 2018.
Police investigations revealed he had drunk a bottle of wine then beers during a pub happy hour and his last drink was at 2am.
In a police interview, the 60-year-old from South Shields told officers he had worked 70 hours that week and had got up at around 5.30am on the day of the crash. He had not had a drink since the day before – around 19 hours prior.
He said he was travelling back from work to his home in South Shields when he “nodded off” at the wheel for a split second. He then collided with the Kia that Mrs Golightly, of Billingham, was travelling in.
The Kia driver told police he felt a “massive impact” that caused him to lose control. He then felt an “almighty thud” as the car struck a tree.
Newbrook got out of his Citroen van and tried to help.
Emergency services attended the scene and police breathalysed Newbrook, who blew 45ug/100mg. The legal alcohol limit is 35ug/100mg.
He taken into custody in Middlesbrough and charged with causing death by dangerous driving, which he pleaded guilty to and co-operated throughout the police investigation.
He was jailed for four years by a judge at Teesside Crown Court today, who also banned him from driving for six years.
After sentencing, Mrs Golightly’s family said in a statement: “On that day, Peter Newbrook devastated our family by taking away a beloved wife of over 50 years, mam and nanna.
“His decision to get into his van that day after a heavy and late night of drinking has destroyed us.
“Everyone has a choice. He made the wrong one and him and his family have to live with that.
“Northing can replace or heal our loss. We are broken.”
Traffic Constable Gemma Brett, of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Investigation Team, led the investigation.
She said: “This was an incredibly sad incident. A split second has changed a family’s lives forever and my thoughts are with Mrs Golightly’s relatives today.
“The case highlights how alcohol stays in your system long after you stop drinking. So many people think they’re fit to drive the day after a heavy drinking session. The reality is that you could still be well over the limit 24 hours after you had your last drink.
“There are no winners in a case like this, and it serves as a tragic reminder of the catastrophic effects of driving while under the influence.”Last modified: January 28, 2020