Drink and drug-driver jailed following collision that left his friend paralysed

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Melanie Adams
General news
Eastleigh and Hedge End

A drink and drug-driver has been jailed for a total of two years and eight months following a collision which has left his friend paralysed.

Matthew Sargant, 22, of High Street, Eastleigh, was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court having pleaded guilty to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He also admitted to drink-driving, drug-driving and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class B.

Southampton Crown Court heard how Sargant was driving his silver Ford Fiesta along Templars Way, Chandler’s Ford, in the early hours of September 25, when he lost control, leaving the carriageway and colliding with a lamppost and tree.

He and his three friends, who were passengers in the car, all suffered serious injuries and were taken to Southampton General Hospital.

The prosecution told the court how the group of friends had been out drinking in Eastleigh that night before Sargant got behind the wheel to drive them all home.

Sargant, who was 21 at the time, suffered a knee injury but was discharged the following morning as was one of his back seat passengers, a then 21-year-old man from Eastleigh, who suffered concussion.

His front seat passenger, a man from Chandler’s Ford who was 19, was left in a critical condition and has been left unable to walk.

His third passenger, a man from Hedge End who was 19, suffered nerve damage to his arm which resulted in a number of surgical procedures.

Officers from the Roads Policing Unit arrested Sargant at the scene and tests later revealed he was over the drink drive limit and had cannabis in his system which exceeded the drug-drive limit.

Matthew Sargant
Matthew Sargant

Today Sargant was sentenced to 28 months each for both counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, which will run concurrently.

He was also given a four month jail term for possession with intent to supply, which will run consecutively.

The judge disqualified him from driving for a total of six years and four months for the drink and drug-driving offences.

PC James Fibbens, from Havant Roads Policing Unit, said: “A young man faces the rest of his life in a wheelchair thanks to the reckless decision of Sargant.

“This collision could have easily been avoided if Sargant had made the right decision that night and not driven home.

“But instead, he ignored the obvious dangers, knowing not only that he was over the drink-drive limit but also had been smoking cannabis, and risked the lives of his friends, others road users and his own.

“I really hope this sentencing acts as a warning to anyone who thinks the dangers of drink and drug-driving don’t relate to them.

“It is only sheer luck that nobody died that night. The consequences can be fatal and lives can be destroyed – it is not worth the risk.”

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