Drink and drive crash destroyed my life, says victim

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A MAN who saw his brother killed and nearly died himself after being run down by a drink driver seven years ago has told how the accident “destroyed” his life.

Stephen Meara-Blount, from Hull, and his brother Tony were hit by the speeding car in the city on January 2006.

Tony was killed instantly and Stephen was severely injured, leaving him needing nine operations and unable to walk without the aid of crutches.

As authorities in the region aim to persuade drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking as part of Alcohol Awareness Week, he called for prospective drink-drivers to “put yourself in my shoes”.

He said: “For longer distances I use my wheelchair. I suffer from ongoing chronic conditions now which doctors tell me are a result of my injuries.

“I have to learn to live with it. There is no other choice. The driver took my brother’s life and destroyed mine. Accidents make the news for a few weeks, but the costs and consequences will remain with me and my family forever.”

Mr Meara-Blount, who is now a volunteer for charity Brake, added: “To anyone contemplating getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, I would say to them to take a moment. Sit and think. Is it worth it?

“Put yourself in my shoes, or imagine that your loved one has been killed or seriously injured. Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. Don’t let alcohol wreck lives.”

The Crown Prosecution Service dealt with more than 4,000 drink-drive related offences over the last year in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, as well as 2,300 drunk and disorderly offences.

Earlier this month North Yorkshire’s chief constable said a dramatic rise in the number of fatal crashes involving alcohol in his county could be due to drivers becoming “desensitised” to awareness campaigns.

Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside said: “At the CPS we know only too well the catastrophic consequences to victims that can be caused, for example, by drink driving.

“Over the years, we have seen many tragic cases in Yorkshire and Humberside where drink driving has led to a death or really serious injury. The impact on victims and their families lasts a lifetime and is always devastating.”

He added: “The relationship between alcohol and other types of crime such as domestic violence, assault, sexual assault, murder and manslaughter is also clear. In over 20 years as a prosecutor, I have, sadly, heard enough to know that alcohol is very often a factor in many of the cases we put before the courts.

“Nobody wants to see another shattered life or family ripped apart. Drinking to excess could lead to a criminal conviction, with all the emotional and practical costs that entails.”