Drug driver Jason Ryan jailed for Lee Sullivan crash death

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Swindon Combined CourtImage source, Google
Image caption,
Jason Ryan, 32, was jailed at Swindon Crown Court on Monday

A driver has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for causing his friend's death when he crashed into a lorry at high speed after using cannabis.

Jason Ryan, 32, from Llanrumney, Cardiff, admitted death by careless driving through drink or drugs, at Swindon Crown Court.

Expectant father Lee Sullivan died and a rear seat passenger was badly hurt in the crash on the M4 in Wiltshire.

Blood taken from Ryan after the crash in 2017 showed a cannabis ingredient.

The court was told Ryan was at the wheel of a Nissan Qashqai, which had its speedometer frozen at 110mph (177km) following the crash.

The impact was so powerful it knocked the HGV's hydraulic tail lift off and caused the lorry to increase momentarily its speed by more than 2mph to 56.5mph, the court heard.

Chris Smyth, prosecuting, told the hearing the supermarket lorry was heading west on the M4 near Littleton Drew, at about 05:00 BST on 30 September 2017, when it was struck.

A specimen of blood showed Ryan had 3.7mg of THC - an ingredient in cannabis - in his blood, he said.

'Far too fast'

The court heard Ryan had 78 previous convictions, four for dangerous driving.

Christopher Rees, mitigating, said his client realised he faced a lengthy jail term for the irreparable damage he had caused to his friend's family.

He said as a result of the fatal crash Ryan had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and had made an attempt to take his own life.

Mr Rees said his client had not smoked cannabis for 12 hours prior to the incident.

He said Ryan, who had passed an extended driving test following his previous convictions, had been distracted, trying to adjust the headlights.

Judge Robert Pawson said: "The fact that anyone left that car alive is almost incredible.

"You were driving far too fast. You were intoxicated. You didn't see a lorry on a dry night on a straight road."

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