A MAN who caused a fatal car crash by driving the wrong way on a motorway flyer after a boozy night in Stratford has been jailed for ten years and six months.
Christian Taylor, from south Warwickshire, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
David Draghita, 35, died after the car he was in was hit near junction 1 of the M6 on October 14.
Taylor was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Wednesday (February 15).
And as well as serving a custodial sentence, the 41-year-old – who worked as a prison officer for 13 years – was also disqualified from driving for 12 years and must take an extended test.
The court heard how the defendant, of Preston Road in Preston-on-Stour, had gone to a hotel in Stratford the evening before the crash following an argument with his wife.
He went to visit a friend in a club at about 10:45pm, where he told police he had four or five pints of lager and whisky, before leaving at 3:15am.
Upon returning to his car he took pain relief and prescribed medication before driving away.
Prosecuting, Lynsey Knott said a lorry driver saw Taylor driving along the M6 at about 25mph “and swerving from lane to lane”, with his driving described as “unsafe and unpredictable”.
After failing to gain the defendant’s attention he called 999.
Dashcam footage later captures Taylor flashing his lights while on the wrong side of the road on a flyover approaching the motorway, near the Leicestershire and Warwickshire border, but no witnesses saw how he began facing the wrong way.
Ms Knott continued: “Taylor’s recollection of the driving is non-existent.
“The flashing of the lights is an indication that the defendant knew that what he was doing was wrong.”
At about 4:30am Taylor’s BMW hit a Nissan Juke, carrying Mr Draghita, his parents and his fiancee, who was driving the car.
Ms Knott said the crash was “unavoidable”, and the deceased’s injuries were “catastrophic”, leading to his death.
Mr Draghita’s mother suffered extensive injuries to her body and spine, including multiple fractures, and has had her spleen and 90cm of her bowel removed, resulting in a stoma being installed.
She remains in hospital in Coventry and cannot walk without aids, and also was too unwell to attend her son’s funeral.
Mr Draghita’s father, who is now in Romania, suffered a broken arm, ribs, pelvis and vertebrae, while his fiancee also suffered a broken arm, neck vertebrae and bruising to his abdomen.
Judge Spencer took into account “significant mitigation” from Taylor’s “extremely good service” as a prison officer, his role as a father to his son and stepchildren and the remorse expressed in a letter to court.
The ultimate cause of the crash, however, remained a mystery.
He said: “At some point it’s clear that you turned around, but it’s not possible in my judgment to say precisely why you did that, or what was going through your mind at the time.”