Drink driver left girlfriend and victim for dead after head-on crash in Derbyshire

A “selfish and callous” Ripley man who downed seven pints before crashing into an oncoming car and fleeing the scene left his then-girlfriend and the other driver for dead.

Friday, 4th March 2022, 5:23 pm

Gareth White was racing a cream Alfa Romeo, and travelling "far too fast," when he lost control of his silver Volvo at a bend on Codnor Lane, Golden Valley, at 6.15pm, on March 23, 2019.

Prosecutor Simon Eckersley said the impact of the head-on collision with a Ford Fiesta caused an indentation in the road surface near the junction with Coach Road.

The court heard White, aged 41, had been on a pub crawl with his new girlfriend that afternoon, and was later found crying outside his friend's house.

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Gareth White.

He mentioned the crash but said nothing about the people left behind, and was arrested at Derby Royal Infirmary the next day.

He told police he only drank coca-cola, blamed his victim for the accident, and claimed he woke up in a field afterwards and had to crawl on his hands and knees until a motorist rescued him.

The Fiesta's roof had to be removed and the driver, who had been returning home from work, woke up in intensive care with life-threatening injuries.

He spent two weeks in an induced coma and ten weeks in hospital, after sustaining a broken foot, hip, pelvis, ribs, punctured lungs and damaged vertebrae.

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The court heard of the devastating emotional and financial impact on his wife and young family. He lost his job of 25 years at Denby Pottery, and now uses sticks and a wheelchair.

White's girlfriend sustained a fractured ankle and collarbone in the crash.

The court heard White was arrested again for drink-driving, five months later, in September 2019, and he has 74 previous convictions, including three for drink-driving and dangerous driving.

He was nearly four times over the limit when he hit a elderly man on a disability scooter and collided with another vehicle, in July 2003.

Benn Robinson, mitigating, conceded White was "driving like an idiot" but said it couldn't be conclusively proved he was racing.

White, of Heath Hill, Ripley, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink-driving and failing to stop before a trial.

On Friday, Judge Nigel Godsmark QC described him as “selfish and callous,” and jailed him for four-years and three months.

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