Drunken motorist jailed

A DRUNKEN motorist who failed to stop after a New Year's Eve accident in which a young woman hit his car windscreen has been jailed for eight months.

Jane Hunt

A DRUNKEN motorist who failed to stop after a New Year's Eve accident in which a young woman hit his car windscreen has been jailed for eight months.

Arron Griffiths, 19, was more than twice the legal limit for drink driving when he got into a friend's car without her permission and took it for a late night drive in Stowmarket, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Griffiths had realised he was being stupid for driving the car and was returning it to a car park when he saw someone appear on his right side, said Michael Crimp. prosecuting.

Griffiths had braked hard to avoid a collision but Danielle Spooner's body hit the car windscreen.

Mr Crimp said that after the collision Griffiths had “freaked out” and had driven off without stopping in the direction of Bury Road before losing control of his friend's Toyota Corolla and crashing it.

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Griffiths, of Stowupland Road, Stowmarket, admitted drink driving, aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop after an accident and driving without insurance.

Jailing him for eight months and banning him from driving for two years Judge John Holt said: “You knew you had hit her. You didn't stop and you carried on and eventually, because of your drunken state, you crashed the car.”

He said he was amazed that Miss Spooner hadn't been more seriously injured in the accident.

The court heard that Miss Spooner had been in Stowmarket town centre enjoying New Year's Eve and had been about to cross a road when she was struck by a car driven by Griffiths.

Her injuries included a cut and bruising to the back of her head, a whiplash injury, bruising to her back, arms and legs and grazes to her knuckles.

She spent New Year's Day in hospital and four weeks after the accident she was still limping and recovering from her injures, said Mr Crimp.

He said that on New Year's Eve Griffiths had visited a pub and had drunk four double vodkas with orange and had been given the keys to the Toyota Corolla to look after by a female friend.

Later in the evening Griffiths had gone on to a local nightclub where he had drunk several single vodkas with orange. Something had happened in the nightclub which made him annoyed and he had decided to take his friend's car for a drive to “get some space”.

After his arrest Griffiths was found to be more than twice the legal limit for drinking and driving.

Joanne Eley, for Griffiths, said he took what had happened seriously and felt remorse for the injuries caused to Miss Spooner.

She said Griffiths thought about the accident every day and wished to apologise to Miss Spooner.

“He accepts his conduct was totally inappropriate and appalling. He acted in an unacceptable and foolish manner,” said Miss Eley.

“He accepts he was driving when his judgement was affected by alcohol. He could have caused fatal injuries to her when he was driving in the manner he did,” said Miss Eley.

She said her client was a painter and decorator and had no previous convictions.