Drunk driver jailed for Santon Downham death crash

The scene of the  Sunday October 9 crash on the B1107 Thetford Road at Santon Downham ANL-161212-140052001
The scene of the Sunday October 9 crash on the B1107 Thetford Road at Santon Downham ANL-161212-140052001

A drunk driver who killed ‘a kind, warm, gentle, man’ in a head-on crash at Santon Downham has been jailed for under five years.

Raimondas Saveikis, 33, of Canons Walk, Thetford, was jailed for four years and eight months today by Ipswich Crown Court after pleading guilty on November 11 to causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

Mark Smyth ANL-161014-153519001

Mark Smyth ANL-161014-153519001

The court heard that a Ford Mondeo driven by Saveikis on the B1107 Thetford Road was in a head-on collision with a Fiat Panda driven by 46-year-old Mark Smyth, from Brandon, at 5am on Sunday October 9. Mr Smyth died at the scene.

Police found Saveikis was at least twice the drink-drive limit, had been on the wrong side of the road and was believed to have been using his mobile phone at about the time of the collision.

The court also banned Saveikis from driving for three and a half years.

Prosecuting, Michael Crimp said that at the crash scene, Saveikius claimed someone else was driving and later told police he had drunk four cans of lager at the scene.

However, Mr Crimp said Saveikius’s DNA has been found on the driver’s airbag of his car and tests showed he would have had even more alcohol in his blood at the time than was later recorded.

Mr Smyth’s widow Joanne read a victim impact statement to the court saying her husband of 10 years had been her ‘soulmate, best friend and lover’.

Mrs Smyth said that on October 9 her husband had left to drive to work at Thetford Tesco, then she was woken by police knocking on the door.

She said: “I saw Mark’s wallet in one of the policeman’s hands and at that moment my world came crashing down.”

Mitigating, Andrew Shaw said Saveikius, who moved to the UK from Latvia four and a half years ago, expressed genuine remorse.

Judge David Goodin said: “No sentence of this court can recompense or measure the terrible tragedy of Mark Smyth’s death, the desolation and misery of those who loved him.”

Inspector David Giles, of the Serious Collision Investigation Team, said: “The pictures of the scene are graphic, but they are sadly real. They have been released with the support of the family to highlight the very real danger of drink-driving and using your phone whilst driving.”