“People say it was an accident and that accidents happen but it didn’t feel like an accident, I knew I never meant to do what I did but I was completely responsible for what I did (speeding) …Having to deal with the guilt which comes through taking a life. It’s almost unbearable”.
These are the repentant words from David, a young driver, who pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving, excessive speed was a main cause of the collision.
Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police are encouraging people to watch, listen and share David’s experience and remind motorists there is no such thing as safe speeding.
Sgt Rob Heard says: “We want people to be able to understand and relate to the fact this is the real consequences, it could very easily happen to you or your loved ones. If you speed you are risking not just yours but other innocent people’s precious lives. It’s simply not worth the risk.”
It is all part of an ongoing campaign at highlighting to motorists the risks involved in speeding during the week of action against speed.
David wants motorists to come away and think about what if it all goes wrong. He says: “I’d think nothing of driving up to 100mph on the motorway or national speed limit looking for some thrills and having a laugh on the road. You got to think about what if it goes wrong, because you know I wouldn’t have ended up killing somebody and going to prison all for the sake of overtaking a car.”
He asks others to: “Look at what’s happened to me think about what’s happened to me and you know how easily it could happen to you. The smallest, silliest little decision can have such a massive life changes, you know when you least expect it as well, it will change your life forever and other peoples.”
David attempted to overtake six cars on the A35 near Lyndhurst in the New Forest in September 2015, when he saw the headlights of another car coming towards him. He tried in vain to pull into a small space behind the leading car but he was unable to slow down and hit this car, a Honda Jazz, forcing it into the path of another oncoming vehicle and pushed off the road into a tree.
John Richardson, 82, was the front-seat passenger in the Honda Jazz. He suffered life-threatening injuries and died from those injuries three months later at Southampton General Hospital.
David was sentenced to three years in prison and disqualified him from driving for six years.
Sgt Rob Heard said: “This has been a very sad case for all of those involved and we are very grateful that through restorative justice both Mr Richardson’s family and David, were happy to have this case shared with the determination to highlight and unfortunately be a reminder of how dangerous travelling above the speed limits can be. Speeding – It’s not worth the risk.”