England

Death crash drink-driver William Johnson banned

A man who was almost three times the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his car, killing his best friend, has been banned from driving.

William Johnson, 37, of High Street, Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, was disqualified from driving for 52 months by Wellingborough magistrates after admitting drink driving on the A45.

Graham Stickland, 29, a passenger in the car, died in the crash.

Johnson, who was left a paraplegic, was driving a Renault Scenic.

Magistrates also gave him a 24-month community order.

Mr Stickland, from Rushden, was in Johnson's car in the early hours of 10 May last year when it clipped a kerb and hit a lamppost.

'Found on road'

They had been returning from a night out together. Mr Stickland died at the scene.

Prosecuting, Stella Moses said that when the emergency services attended the scene they found the car on its roof.

She said: "It had gone over the safety barrier, rolled down the embankment. The passenger was still inside the car but the defendant had been ejected. He had not been wearing his seat belt.

"He was found on the road and taken to Northampton General Hospital."

At the hospital it was found that Johnson had lost the use of his legs.

He needed several months of hospital treatment and now uses a wheelchair.

A blood sample taken from him showed that he had 238mg of alcohol per 100ml of his blood. The legal limit is 80.

Sentencing him, chair of the bench Amanda Robinson said that there were aggravating features to the case as Johnson had been found guilty of drink driving in 2005.

She added: "This is a very emotional case. You will live with this for the rest of your life."

Following the sentencing Johnson said he hoped Mr Stickland's family would one day be able to forgive him.

"I'm so, so sorry. He was my best friend," he said.

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