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Drink driver who caused horror crash on coast road is jailed
12:00pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
A DRINK DRIVER has been jailed for causing a serious crash on the coast road.
Christopher Andrew Gower was one-and-a-half times over the legal alcohol limit when he got behind the wheel of his car, Dorchester Crown Court heard.
Transporting a five-year-old child and other family members, Gower, of High East Street, Dorchester, was driving at more than 80mph on the B3157 coast road when he lost control.
Witnesses who saw the crash between Swyre and Abbotsbury on August 3 last year told how when Gower came racing over a blind hill there was ‘daylight’ between the car’s tyres and the road.
Prosecutor Jennie Rickman said one described that the car was going so fast ‘it went past us as though we were stationary’.
Police inspectors estimated that he was driving at 86mph when the crash happened.
Gower, aged 40, was on bail for another drink-driving offence at the time.
The court heard how Gower had also smoked some cannabis, a Class B drug, before getting behind the wheel – but the levels in blood were low enough not to be deemed a factor in the crash.
Miss Rickman said the accident caused serious injuries to Gower’s 19-year-old nephew, leaving him with broken legs and fractured ribs.
He had to be conveyed to Southampton General Hospital by air ambulance, the court heard.
The court heard how the victim can no longer pursue his chosen career and is worried his leg will have to be amputated.
Miss Rickman said the accident had also had devastating effects on the family.
In mitigation, Charles Langley told the court that Gower was ‘very sorry.’ He added: “It is clear this has had a very derisive effect on Gower’s family.
“What is clear is that he has never tried in any way to push away his responsibility for causing the accident.
“It is something he has accepted from the very start and he has stated more than once before that he wishes he was the one who suffered the injuries.”
Sentencing Gower to 28 months imprisonment, Judge Roger Jarvis told him it was ‘fortunate’ the five-year-old child had been spared.
He said: “Fortunately nothing happened to that child, save the obvious trauma he must have suffered when the accident happened.
“I understand and accept totally that you are full of remorse.
“It is a matter of deep regret to you that your driving has caused what I describe as a schism in the family.
Of the victim, he added: “Only 19 years old, his adult life ahead of him, a whole lot of ambition.
“As for what he wanted to do with his life – all of that now cut short.
“He doesn’t sleep at night because he is worried he is going to lose his leg.
“His career is something that he can no longer pursue.
He said: “Sometimes it is said in court that when you get behind the wheel of a car it’s like being at the wheel of a weapon and you have to be very careful about how you behave.”
THERE were 101 drink-drive arrests as part of the Dorset Police summer crackdown.
Some 707 drivers were stopped and tested during the annual month-long campaign.
Of those arrested 22 were held after being involved in a collision.
At the time traffic inspector Matt Butler said: “Although the summer campaign is over for another year, we will continue to target those who put their lives and others at risk by drink drivingdrink driving.
“More than 20 per cent of arrests came after collisions which shows how dangerous drink drivingis. There is no safe limit. When going out for a drink you need to plan how to get home without driving yourself.”