Drink driver jailed after causing death by careless driving
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A 69-year-old drink driver has been sent to prison after his reckless and irresponsible actions killed a man as he changed a tyre on the A45 Nene Valley Way, near Earls Barton.
Stephen Colin Cook of Palmer Square, Northampton, appeared at Northampton Crown Court last Friday (June 23), where he was jailed for 22 months and disqualified from driving for three years and 11 months.
Cook pleaded guilty to one count of causing death without due care while over the prescribed limit at an earlier court hearing in May, following the fatal road collision which occurred on Sunday, February 27 last year.
At about 10.25pm, 27-year-old Daniel Pastaca of Huntington, was forced to stop his silver Volkswagen Golf on the nearside verge of the westbound carriageway after his front offside tyre sustained a puncture.
With no hard shoulder or streetlights on this stretch of the carriageway, Mr Pastaca put the car’s hazard lights on and his fiancée stood at the roadside and used the torch on her mobile phone to warn approaching drivers to slow down.
However, despite this, Cook’s white Vauxhall Astra van collided with the rear of the stationary car at 60mph. The force of the impact pushed the Golf into a nearby ditch, taking Mr Pastaca with it. Despite the best efforts of police officers and paramedics, he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
As a result of the collision, the van left the carriageway and went into a ditch before colliding with a tree. Cook was arrested at the scene after failing a roadside breath test and was taken to hospital for treatment to a head injury.
At hospital, two blood samples were taken for analysis which confirmed the Cook was driving while over the prescribed limit of alcohol. He had 107ug milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80ug.
Cook was subsequently charged following an investigation by the Force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) with causing the death of Mr Pastaca.
Following sentencing, Detective Constable Lydia Watters of the SCUI said: “The devastation Stephen Cook’s actions have caused cannot be measured and I hope he is aware, that because of his reckless use of the road, he has left a family completely and forever heartbroken.
“Daniel Pastaca was a much-loved son and fiancé, who leaves behind family and friends, and who all thought the absolute world of him. No sentence will ever make up for his death.
“Drink driving is selfish and reckless and has no place in our society. Those who get behind the wheel while over the limit may think it’s just a few extra drinks, but the consequences are far more horrendous, and it is usually innocent people who are killed.”