Suffolk: Stark warning for drink drivers

POLICE vowed take a tough stance on drink-driving last night as they launched their annual Christmas crackdown.

They promised that they will be seeking out those who take the wheel while over the limit and strictly enforcing the law as they try to avoid a repeat of last year’s devastating death crash that took the life of a young teacher.

Road policing chief inspector Ady Dawson said at the launch that this year’s appeal was also devised to educate people about the risks of driving under the influence as he plea

He said officers will be on patrol with British Transport Police at Ipswich, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds railway stations between Christmas and New Year, offering passengers voluntary breath tests and booking taxis for those over the limit, to avoid the risk of them driving the rest of the way home.

Chief Insp Dawson said: “We need to reduce the number of people testing positive for drink-driving this Christmas and will be rigorously enforcing the law.

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“We don’t want to ruin somebody’s Christmas by telling them about the loss of a loved one, nor do we want to jeopardise someone’s career by prosecuting them for drink-driving.”

Family liaison officer Pc Mel Savage has dealt with 25 fatal crashes in her nine years working with the road policing unit. She is often first on the scene and is responsible for communicating with the families of victims.

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She said: “I act as a point of contact, speaking to people in their greatest hours of need and offering support to families. I’m there to provide information but not emotional support.

“There is no financial incentive for becoming a family liaison officer but providing that personal contact is reward enough.”

Two people had been arrested before the press conference began at Suffolk Police headquarters yesterday.

Krzysztof Rybakowski, a 28-year-old kitchen worker, of Maude Street, Ipswich, was arrested at 2am for allegedly failing to provide a breath specimen. He has been bailed to appear before magistrates on December 20.

Security employee Kevin Reakes, 55, from Dale Close, Stanway, near Colchester, was bailed until December 13 following his arrest. He was stopped at 9am on the A12 at Martlesham and is suspected of driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

THE father of a Suffolk teacher, killed by a drink-driver almost a year ago to the day, joined police in appealing for the public to help prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again.

David Lee’s daughter, Sarah, was killed near Stutton on December 5, 2009. She as just 24.

Miss Lee was on her way home to Colchester from Holbrook’s Royal Hospital School, where she worked.

An Audi 100, driven by 24-year-old Matthew Anderson, who was two-and-a-half times the legal limit, collided with her Ford Focus in Manningtree Road, killing both drivers.

At a press conference hosted by Suffolk police yesterday, Mr Lee called for a major culture change in how people regard drink-driving. “I had a beautiful daughter who, in the run up to Christmas last year, was the victim of a drink-driver.

“I try not to feel bitter but I also know that Sarah’s death was avoidable,” he said.

“I think it’s wrong to heap all the blame on the drivers. As a society, we need to make people aware that drink-driving is unacceptable - that we won’t tolerate it.

“We have to do all we can to prevent the type of crime that killed my daughter.”

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