Eight-month sentence for driver who accelerated through lights and into cyclist after taking cocaine

Cyclist left with life-changing injuries in crash

(Photo: Lonpicman/CC3.0)

A driver from Rugby has been sentenced to eight months in prison after leaving a cyclist with life-changing injuries in a crash caused by him accelerating through traffic lights and losing control of his van having taken cocaine.

John Marshall pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving with an excess level of a class A drug in his system at Warwick Crown Court following the incident on June 29, 2016.

The Rugby Advertiser reports how prosecutor Andrew Baker told the court that Marshall had been approaching the traffic lights on Parkfield Road, Rugby at around 8am when the lights turned amber. However instead of braking, Marshall accelerated through the lights and attempted to turn right at the junction.

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Cyclist Natalie Murray was just starting to cross the road from a central pedestrian reservation when Marshall lost control of his van and ploughed into Mrs Murray at speed.

After he was arrested, Marshall was found to have five times the legal limit of benzoylecgonine, a cocaine derivative which is produced when the body breaks down cocaine, in his system.

The crash left Mrs Murray with extensive injuries including a badly shattered elbow and a detached retina, both of which required surgery.

Mrs Murray has also suffered last effects from the crash as she is unable to straighten her arm, has poor motor function in her right thumb which was broken in two places, and has extensive scar tissue on her leg.

Giving her verdict, Recorder Rebecca Herbert told Marshall that he had driven "far too fast for the conditions and crossed the junction at a time the lights were on amber and about to turn red."

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She continued: "It is quite clear that instead of stopping, as you should have done, or slowing down at the very least, you put your foot down to try to beat the lights.

"Following the accident you tested positive for a cocaine derivative. You were five times over the legal limit. It is a stimulant, and a banned substance.

“I cannot say what effect that quantity of drug had on your driving that day, but it is clearly a seriously aggravating feature of the offence.

“I have regard to the fact that you are a family man with young children and a wife, and that you yourself have suffered severe effects as a consequence of this."

As well as being sentenced to eight months in prison, Marshall was also banned from driving for five years and four months and will have to pass an extended retest in order to regain his license.

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