A speeding motorist who was 16 times the legal drug-driving limit when he crashed into a car in Eastbourne, killing two people, has been jailed.
Jodan Hunt abandoned his black Seat Leon after it collided with a silver Volkswagen Polo, which then collided with a blue BMW 330d and a grey Audi A3, at the junctions of King Edward's Parade, South Cliff and Bolsover Road, at about 9.34pm on Friday 12 August.
The driver of the Polo – Richard Lewis-Clements, 46, of Gordon Road, Buxted – and the passenger – Maria Smith, 48, of Edmund Close, Eastbourne – sadly died at the scene.
Hunt was located a mile away at the Cavendish Hotel in Grand Parade, where he had been attending a wedding reception, about two-and-a-half hours later.
He was arrested in connection with the crash and taken into custody.
The 24-year-old builder, of Hobart Quay, Eastbourne, appeared at Guildford Crown Court via video link today (Thursday 1 September), where he pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
He was sentenced to six years in jail for each offence, to run concurrently, and disqualified from driving for eight years. He is also required to take an extended retest should he wish to reapply for a driving licence having been released from prison.
Sergeant Dan Pitcher, of the East Sussex Roads Policing Team, said, "This was a truly tragic incident in which two innocent people have lost their lives, and our thoughts are with the friends and families of the victims at this difficult time.
"The defendant pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and accepts full responsibility for his actions. He expressed extreme remorse in court and he wished to extend his regrets to the family of the deceased.
"Fortunately, this has been a swift process which has led to an immediate custodial sentence for Hunt. It also sends a clear message to others about the dangers of drink and drug-driving, and the severe impact it can have on people.”
Witnesses gave evidence stating Hunt was seen to drive at speed – up to double the 30mph limit – and go straight through a pedestrian crossing on the wrong side of the road while travelling west in King Edward's Parade.
He is then reported to have weaved in between anti-terror barriers – put in place for the Airbourne event – and turned right into South Cliffe. From there, he clipped a kerb and skidded into the path of the Polo at the junction of Bolsover Road, before running away from the crash scene.
He was later located by police who managed to trace him to The Cavendish Hotel nearby.
Sgt Pitcher added, "The judge described how Hunt is a father with two young children who had not been before the courts before. He had been suffering from depression prior to the collision, however nothing can excuse his actions on that fatal evening, which were both dangerous and highly irresponsible.
"Once in custody Hunt was tested for substances, and recorded having 46mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system – the legal limit being 35mg. But most shockingly, he also tested positive for having 800mcg of benzoylecgonine – the major metabolite of cocaine – per litre of blood in his system. The legal limit is 50mcg, meaning he was an incredible 16 times the legal limit.
"Hunt's conviction serves as a stark reminder that we will not tolerate drink or drug-driving at any time of the year, and that anyone caught breaking the law will be dealt with robustly.”
Photo courtesy of Sussex Police