Call for tougher drink-driving laws
CAMPAIGNERS have called for tougher drink-driving laws after an inquest into the deaths of two young people in a horror crash on the A140.The inquest was told pub manageress Kirsty Cracknell, 24, was nearly one-and-a-half times the legal drink-drive limit when the car she was driving was involved in a head-on collision at Brockford Street, killing her and her friend James Smy, 21.
By David Lennard
CAMPAIGNERS have called for tougher drink-driving laws after an inquest into the deaths of two young people in a horror crash on the A140.
The inquest was told pub manageress Kirsty Cracknell, 24, was nearly one-and-a-half times the legal drink-drive limit when the car she was driving was involved in a head-on collision at Brockford Street, killing her and her friend James Smy, 21.
Speaking after the hearing, Mandy Roberts, chairwoman of the Campaign Against Drink Driving, said: “The message that we have been trying to put out is drink-driving kills. People think they will okay after a few drinks but they can have had just enough to kill.
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“Until we get guidelines on what is safe to drink there will be more tragedies like this. The safe amount to drink is zero. What's safe for one person is not safe for others and until we adopt the attitude that people shouldn't drink anything before driving these things will continue to happen.”
Miss Cracknell, from Stoke Ash, near Eye, and Mr Smy, from Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, were both declared dead at the scene of the crash during the early hours of October 30 last year, the inquest at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court heard yesterday.
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Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said the pair had been travelling north on the A140 in a Vauxhall Tigra car when it was involved in a head-on collision with a Volkswagen Sharan.
In a statement, taxi driver Arnold Johnson said he had been taking a passenger from Norwich to Wetheringsett at the time of the accident.
He said he had seen a car approaching which for some reason had veered across to his side of the road and, although he tried to avoid the car, there was nothing he could do to avoid the collision. Neither Mr Johnson nor his passenger suffered serious injuries in the crash.
Police accident investigators could find no defects in the Vauxhall Tigra car but confirmed the vehicle had crossed to the wrong side of the single carriageway road immediately before the impact.
Seat belt injuries revealed that it had been Miss Cracknell who had been driving the Vauxhall Tigra and that Mr Smy had been her front seat passenger, Dr Dean said.
A post-mortem report revealed that Miss Cracknell had 118mg of alcohol in 100millilitres of blood, the hearing was told. The legal drink-drive limit is 80mg.
Dr Dean recorded verdicts of accidental death on both accident victims.
Miss Cracknell, who her family described as “beautiful inside and out”, was as a manageress at the Bucks Head pub, at Thwaite, which is just half a mile away from the accident, while Mr Smy ran his own business buying and repairing cars.
n A separate inquest in Lowestoft yesterday heard a driver who died when his car left the road and crashed into a tree had been more than three times the legal drink-drive limit.
Michael Chaplin, 49, of Brook Farm, Bramfield, near Halesworth, was declared dead at the scene of the single vehicle accident on the A144 between Bramfield and Halesworth at 11.30pm on December 3 last year.
A post mortem report revealed that Mr Chaplin had 270mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. Dr Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death.