A DRIVER who had taken cocaine has been jailed following a head-on crash near Stratford.
Matthew Cresswell, who was under the influence of cocaine at the time, made the ‘terrible misjudgement’ to overtake a lorry on the approach to the brow of a hil on the A46 – leading to a crash which led to a man in another car having to be cut from his car.
The 25-year-old from Stratford, was jailed for 14 months and was also banned from driving for two years and seven months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to dangerous driving.
Prosecutor Lal Amarasingh said it was ‘pure luck’ there were no serious injuries, although victim Jakub Szynkarwicz was off work for five weeks following the crash which happened just before 5am on April 29 last year.
Ignoring the double while lines in the centre of the road, Cresswell, driving a Renault Clio, pulled out to overtake an HGV ahead of him.
The truck driver, seeing the Clio alongside and realising the danger, slowed to try to give Cresswell chance to complete the manoeuvre as they approached the brow of the hill.
But Cresswell ploughed head-on into a VW Passat being driven by Mr Szynkarwicz, who was approaching the brow of the hill from the opposite direction and did not see the Clio until it was too late to react.
It was ‘a catastrophic collision,’ and Mr Szynkarwicz, who was on his way to Luton airport to get a plane to Austria to visit relatives, was trapped in his wrecked car.
People rushed to try to help him, but were unable to get him out, and he remained trapped in the car for an hour before the emergency services managed to cut him free. Although he suffered no fractures he was on crutches for over three weeks.
Cresswell was arrested, and tested positive for cocaine, which Mr Amarasingh said was an aggravating factor, although the level was not over the legal limit.
His barrister Chloe Ashley said it had been ‘a terrible incident of misjudgement’ by Cresswell.
She added Cresswell’s head was ‘all over the place’ at the time, having split up with his girlfriend that night, as a result of which he had become homeless – but he now had council accommodation and had secured an apprenticeship in carpentry.
Jailing Cresswell, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You tested positive for cocaine, and you now accept you were under the influence of cocaine that night. Clearly that makes this offence much more serious.
“The message must go out that if young new drivers go out in their cars having taken drugs, and risk people’s lives in this way, they must go to prison.”