Cambridgeshire

Five vehicle crash drink-driver jailed for six years

Five vehicle crash A142, Mepal (fifth car can't be seen)
Image caption Stephen James was running late for work at the time of the crash

A drink-driver who killed a man in a five-vehicle crash while in a "deplorable level of intoxication" has been jailed for six years.

Stephen James, 47, from Parkside in Haverhill, Suffolk, pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving at Peterborough Crown Court.

He hit a central barrier while overtaking a lorry on the A142 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire in December.

James was two and a half times over the drink-drive limit.

He also pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Image caption He hit a central barrier when trying to overtake a lorry causing five vehicles in all to collide

James was on his way to work on 20 December, when he overtook a lorry, hitting a central barrier and crashed head first into a Vauxhall Vivaro van coming the other way.

This caused the lorry driver to swerve into the path of a Vauxhall Corsa car, also coming the other way on the single-carriageway road.

The driver of the car, 60-year-old Keith Howlett from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, died at the scene.

The Vauxhall van driver was left with life-changing injuries.

Another Vauxhall Corsa got caught up in the crash and its driver received minor injuries.

PC James Thorne from Cambridgeshire Police said James had been late for work: "Running late, and compounded due to his deplorable level of intoxication, he made the decision to overtake a lorry in a place which was wholly inappropriate."

Mr Howlett's widow Joy said he had been looking forward to Christmas and the family was devastated by his death.

James received six years for causing death by dangerous driving and two years for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, to serve concurrently.

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