A man who was under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel of his van has been jailed for four years and eight months for causing the death of a London rap artist last year.
Jordan Birch, 23, from Woore, Shropshire, was driving his Vauxhall combo van when it collided with a Toyota Prius minicab head-on on Main Road in Wrinehill at around 1.30am on 9 February 2019.
Blaine Johnson, aka rap artist Cadet, was a rear passenger in the minicab along with his three friends and was heading to Keele University where he was due to perform in the early hours.
A detailed investigation, carried out by officers from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit, found that Birch, who was under the influence of alcohol, collided with the van when he negotiated a left-hand bend.
The court heard that Birch had drunk six pints of beer prior to the collision.
The minicab driver, aged 37, also suffered serious leg and internal injuries in the collision, for which he continues to receive treatment.
Colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service came across the incident but sadly nothing could be done and Blaine was pronounced dead at the scene.
A sample of blood taken from Birch six hours after he was hospitalised for his own injuries showed a reading of 87 micrograms, the legal limit for alcohol being 80 micrograms in 100 millilitres of blood.
Investigators found that the van Birch was driving was travelling at double the 30mph speed limit a short distance from the collision scene. He was also found to be driving on the wrong side of the road around 225 metres prior to the collision.
The investigation also found that Blaine was not wearing a seatbelt in the minicab.
Birch was jailed today (9 January) at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and serious injury by dangerous driving.
He was also disqualified from driving for two years – which will start when he is released from prison - and ordered to take an extended test before he can drive again.
Sergeant Richard Moors, from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This collision shows the devastating effects of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.
“Birch knew he had been drinking but nevertheless he chose to drive that night. His impairment through alcohol clearly affected his judgement and he drove in a manner and at a speed inappropriate for the road as he drove towards Betley.
“The tragic consequences of his choices have meant that the family and friends of Blaine have lost a son, a brother and a friend. There’s no excuse to drive at excessive speed or whilst under the influence.
“I would encourage drivers to think carefully before getting behind the wheel and drinking any amount of alcohol. Drink and speed are a lethal combination and this collision has devastated more than one life.
“Also, whilst drivers have no legal responsibility to ensure adults are wearing seatbelts, I would encourage all occupants to wear them.”
Image credit: Google street view