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A driver who was nearly three times over the drug drive limit when his teenage passenger was killed in a collision has been jailed for nine years.
Nineteen-year-old Thomas Smith was in Benjamin Norman’s van when Norman drove it into the back of a lorry parked in a lay-by on the A421 near Bedford in November 2018.
Apprentice roofer Mr Smith had been picked up by his boss Norman and the pair were on their way to work.
Norman, 41, of Foster Way, Wootton, failed a roadside drugs wipe and was subsequently arrested.
Five hours later, a blood sample was taken which showed his cannabis level at 5.5mg per litre of blood. The legal limit is two.
Investigations by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Serious Collisions Investigation Unit established that Norman did not steer or brake to avoid the collision.
Norman suffered only minor injuries, but Mr Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
In January Norman was found guilty of causing Mr Smith’s death by careless driving whilst over a specified drug limit.
Yesterday (Thursday) Norman was sentenced to nine years, to serve half in prison and the remainder on licence.
He was disqualified from driving for two years once he comes out of prison and will also have to undertake an extended re-test.
DC Neil Crosier, who led the investigation, said: “I cannot imagine the anguish and hurt that Thomas Smith’s loved ones have felt and my heart goes out to them.
“I sincerely hope they feel a sense of justice and closure following this sentence.
“Norman displayed unbelievable recklessness and ignorance in getting behind the wheel after smoking cannabis.
“Anyone is taking a similar risk if they also drive after taking illegal drugs. They are putting people’s lives at risk and it is completely unacceptable.”
Anyone with concerns about someone’s drug taking can report it to police via beds.police.uk/ro/report
Alternatively you can contact drug and alcohol services in Bedfordshire.
In Luton, Change Grow Live is commissioned to run drug and alcohol services through ResoLUTiONs.
You can email the Luton drug and alcohol service or call 08000 546603.
Path 2 Recovery is a one-stop service providing advice, support, and treatment to those over 18 living in Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire whose lives are affected by alcohol or drug use.
You can email providers the East London NHS Foundation Trust or call 0333 332 4019.
The young people’s drug and alcohol service Aquarius provides support to anyone under 18 in Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire who is affected by substance misuse.
Call them on 0330 008 3925 or email them to get in touch.
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