Manningtree: Seriously injured drink-driver banned after his life was saved in river rescue
09:00 01 February 2014
A drink-driver whose life was saved when he was pulled unconscious from a river after his car ploughed through a wall has been disqualified from driving for nearly four years.
A member of the public and a police officer rescued badly injured Gavin Stant by hauling him out of the River Stour at Mistley, near Manningtree, as the tide began to swamp his VW Golf.
Stant, of Pleasant Place, Beckford Road, Mistley, sustained serious injuries to his head and a vertebrae, as well as broken ribs and a lacerated ear as a result of the high-speed crash.
The 31-year-old was twice the drink-drive limit at the time.
Stant sill has flashbacks about the incident and is said to be suffering from the consequences of his actions which will live with him for the rest of his life.
He pleaded guilty to driving while above the legal alcohol limit when he appeared before Colchester magistrates.
The crash occurred at around 11.15pm on October 19.
Stant was said to have been travelling at high-speed when he lost control before his vehicle left the road, careered into a tree and spun through part of The Walls at Mistley before disappearing out of sight.
When a witness who heard a loud bang looked on the other side of the wall the VW Golf was around 20 feet into the river with water lapping up to the car’s back wheels.
Rescuers assisted Stant’s male passenger to safety.
However, Stant was unconscious in the driver’s seat.
As the water level quickly began to rise a member of the public and a police officer took the decision to get him out of the VW as paramedics had not reached the crash site by that point.
By the time Stant was dragged to the safety of the sea wall the water was up to the sills of the car.
The VW was said to have been fully submerged after around 40 minutes.
Two fire crews were also sent to the scene, but Stant and his passenger were by the sea wall when they arrived.
After being given treatment at the scene Stant was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, which specialises in head injuries.
A subsequent blood test showed Stant had 164 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 mlgs.
The VW Golf was pulled from the river by a recovery firm the following day.
Following Stant’s guilty plea magistrates disqualified him from driving for 46 months. He was also fined £175. In addition he was ordered to pay £20 to the victims’ fund and £85 towards prosecution costs.