South Shields van driver jailed for causing death of Billingham car passenger in A19 smash
A breath test revealed South Shields tradesman Peter Newbrook was still unfit to drive around 19 hours after his last drink.
Police say the case is a “tragic reminder” of how long alcohol can remain in motorists’ systems after a heavy drinking session.
Victim Julia Golightly’s family have also said: “His decision to get into his van that day after a heavy and late night of drinking has destroyed us.”
Newbrook ploughed his van into the back of a car on the A19 while driving home from work
Mrs Golightly, of Billingham, was seriously injured, slipped into a coma and died from her injuries three days later.
Police investigations revealed Newbrook had drunk a bottle of wine then beers during a pub happy hour and that his last drink was 2am.
When interviewed, Newbrook, 60, of Harton House Road, told officers he had worked 70 hours that week and had got up at around 5.30am on the day of the crash.
He said he was travelling back from work to his home in June 2018 when he “nodded off” at the wheel for a split second near Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, and collided with the Kia that Mrs Golightly 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.
North Yorkshire Police say Newbrook got out of his Citroen van and tried to help.
He was taken into custody in Middlesbrough after officers arrived and later charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
He also blew 45 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath in a breathalyser test. The legal alcohol limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Newbrook has now been jailed for four years by a judge at Teesside Crown Court after admitting death by dangerous driving and also banned from driving for six years.
After sentencing, Mrs Golightly’s family said in a statement that her death had “destroyed us” and added: “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.
“Nothing 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 and said after the sentencing hearing: “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.”