Drink-driver jailed for killing friend in 103mph crash on M27 at Portsmouth
POLICE have warned: If you drink and drive, this is what could happen.
Unlicensed driver Billy Plested overturned his Vauxhall Corsa at 103mph while nearly double the legal limit on the M27 at Portsmouth.
Now he has been jailed for four years and eight months for killing his friend, rear passenger Luke Shaw, 20, who died of his injuries three days after the incident in hospital.
Speaking after Plested, 21, was jailed at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday, Sgt Richard Grant, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Hampshire police, said: ‘Had he just decided to call a taxi or a friend to pick them up, then this would not have happened.
‘This case shows just how important it is for drivers not to drink or take drugs and then drive. The consequences can be fatal and it is simply not worth the risk.’
The court heard Plested drank half a litre of spirits and lager, drinking between go-kart races with his friends in Gosport.
Just 30 minutes after leaving the Castle In The Air pub in Fareham, Plested had undertaken cars, swerving and snaking on the M27.
Investigators found he over-steered, travelling 50 metres before hitting the embankment, overturning and then coming to a stop.
Fern Russell, prosecuting, said blood analysis found Plested had 147mg of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, nearly double the 80mg limit.
Cannabis over the limit was also found in his blood as he smoked a joint after work at 2.30pm on that day, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.
When a witness stopped at crash, the court heard Plested said: ‘I’ve killed my friend.’
Plested’s front passenger Shane Rogers, 19 at the time, suffered concussion and cuts to his head and fingers and was cut out of the car.
The defendant suffered a fracture to his skull and eye socket in the June 26 crash last year.
Sentencing, judge Sarah Munro QC jailed Plested for four years and eight months.
Speaking of Mr Shaw’s family, the judge said: ‘Their devastation and feeling of emptiness in their lives are hard to overstate.’
Although Plested was charged with careless driving, the judge added: ‘Your driving was, in my view, arguably dangerous.’
A black box fitted by an insurance company revealed Plested’s vehicle was travelling at 103mph just before the crash at 11.15pm.
Ms Russell said the three friends had earlier booked for five races at a go-kart track in Fareham Road, Gosport.
In between each race, Plested drove to pubs when they started drinking at 4pm.
The group ordered a double brandy and coke at the Hoeford Inn after one race and a double rum and coke after the second race.
The licensee refused to serve them again after being told they drove to the pub, and after the third race the trio went to the Castle In The Air pub in Fareham.
There they ordered two more doubles, and then again two more doubles after the fourth race. Receipts seized by police revealed 11 drinks orders had been made.
After the fifth race, the landlady at the Castle In The Air pub saw Plested lean over the bar to try to take Guinness and the trio left.
Ms Russell added Mr Shaw, of Bitterne, had not been wearing a seat belt but a forensic collision investigator from Hampshire police found he may not have survived even if he was wearing one.
Stephen Parish, for Plested, said: ‘This young man will suffer the rest of his life, just as the family of the deceased will for the rest of their lives. He has this on his conscience.’
Plested, of Cox Row, Chandler’s Ford, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink and drugs, and a count of causing death while unlicensed.
The court heard Plested had a full licence, but told the DVLA of a diabetic episode and was on a restricted licence, which then lapsed.
In a tribute released after his death, Mr Shaw’s mother, Tracy Pearce, said: ‘He will always remain in our memories and, most importantly, our hearts.’
Plested was banned from driving for five years with a 28-month extension.