No Jail Time In Driving Deaths
Posted by Childress on July 5, 2006
The headline in London’s Daily Mirror says it all: “Driver kills a teenager, flees in his wrecked van and is tested positive for drink and drugs. So how could a judge set him free?”
But that’s what happened:
The family of a girl killed by a hit-and-run driver spoke of their anger and dismay yesterday as he walked free from court.
Mark Hambleton ran into 17-year-olds Natalie Glasgow and Stephanie Taylor as they walked home from a party, leaving Natalie dying and her friend gravely injured. Witnesses claimed he had been driving without lights and when he was arrested the following day police found traces of alcohol, Ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis in his blood.
But prosecutors accepted Hambleton’s account that he took the drugs after he arrived home. They said there was not enough evidence to charge him with causing Natalie’s death by dangerous driving a charge which carries a maximum 14-year term.
Instead he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of dangerous driving, failing to stop and report an accident, driving with no headlights and possession of Ecstasy and cannabis.
His sentence: 100 hours of community service. The tragedy of the accident and the tragedy of the sentence may serve a purpose: Parliament is considering a bill to make it easier to bring strong charges against people who kill while driving under the influence of drugs — and Hambleton’s sentence may help bring about the kind of law that will keep such a miscarriage of justice from happening again.