A Burnham-On-Sea driver who caused the death of a young man and left another paralysed from the neck down has been sentenced to 11 years in jail this week.
Lee Stoodley, 33, was handed the sentence on Tuesday (March 28th) after a week-long trial at Taunton Crown Court.
The court heard that Lewis Rogers, a back-seat passenger in a BMW driven by Stoodley, had died after sustaining serious head injuries when the vehicle crashed into a tree on the A38 roundabout at Dunball at just after 1am on December 20th, 2015.
The court also heard that Dan Reed, his friend, had suffered life-changing injuries during the collision and had been left paralysed from the neck down.
Christopher Hampton, 33, of Riverstone in West Huntspill, previously admitted a charge of aiding and abetting another to commit an offence and driving while over the drink drive limit in connection with the crash. He will be sentenced on April 20th for his part in the collision.
Judge David Evans said on the night of the crash that members of the public had tried to help Mr Reed and Mr Rogers, but Stoodley and Hampton had tried to quietly walk away from the scene of the collision.
Stoodley, pictured, from Gielgud Close in Burnham-On-Sea, had denied causing the death of Lewis Rogers by dangerous driving, by driving without due care and attention while over the legal drink drive limit. However, the jurors returned a verdict of guilty and he was jailed for 11 years.
Speaking after the court proceedings, PC Andy Grigg said: “Our thoughts remain with all of the families involved in this tragedy.”
“Lewis’ family have had to not only endure losing a son and friend but also had to wait over a year for justice.”
“Stoodley got behind the wheel of the car knowing he had consumed excess alcohol.”
“He then drove recklessly, endangering those in his vehicle and other members of the public.”
“I hope this acts as a stark warning to anyone thinking about driving after consuming alcohol – that decision can take a life.”
In addition to the 11-year prison sentence, Stoodley was also banned from driving for 10 and a half years.