Man faces eight years behind bars following fatal collision in Shepperton
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A 62-year-old man is facing eight years behind bars following a fatal fail-to-stop collision in Shepperton in September 2020.
On the evening of Saturday, 19 September 2020, officers were called to Walton Bridge Road following reports of a pedestrian being hit by a car. The vehicle involved had failed to stop following the collision.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics, 52-year-old Brendan Sean O’Connell was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
James John Wood, born 11/03/1961, of Staines-upon-Thames, was found guilty by a unanimous jury decision of causing death by careless driving whilst unfit through drink following a trial at Guildford Crown Court. He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment on Tuesday, 20 June, and will have to serve a minimum of at least four years.
Wood has also been disqualified driving for six years, to be served upon his release. After this, he will then be subject to an extended re-test proceed.
The court heard that, on the day of the collision, Wood had been drinking for around seven hours in a nearby pub with friends, and is believed to have consumed eight pints of beer before getting behind the wheel of his red Citroen Berlingo and driving along Walton Bridge Road where the collision occurred.
Wood failed to stop at the scene or report the collision, but instead continued his journey home, stopping to buy two bottles of wine and fish and chips on the way.
When his vehicle was identified and located at Wood’s address with significant damage, he denied any knowledge of the collision, and continued to maintain his innocence in the time it took for the case to reach the courts, and throughout trial proceedings.
During sentencing, it was reflected on that Wood had also been arrested for drink driving two weeks before the fatal collision in Shepperton. He pleaded guilty to this offence in October 2020, was disqualified from driving for 17 months, and was ordered to pay costs totalling £415.
Brendan’s family have paid tribute to the witnesses that came forward and to DC Richard Edwards and the wider team at the Surrey Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit for their efforts in bringing the investigation to court. Brendan’s family are devasted at the loss of a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
Investigating officer, DC Rick Edwards, said, “This was a tragic collision, caused by the unnecessary actions of a driver who made the choice to consume alcohol and then drive while unfit.
“Alcohol limits are there for a reason. As evidenced in this tragic case, those who choose to drive whilst under the influence are not only risking their own lives but the lives of those around them.”