A heroin user who got behind the wheel and killed a cyclist, has been jailed for seven years.
Christopher Jewkes, 35, formerly of Tudor Court, Selston, had taken five pounds worth of heroin before getting in his 4X4 vehicle on 21 August 2014.
As he drove from Warsop towards Mansfield, Nicholas Highfield was cycling the opposite way along the A60 Leeming Lane South, in Mansfield.
Jewkes, who was also taking prescription medication, lost control of his car, mounted the kerb and drove into Nicholas, 41, causing his death.
Today, Tuesday, 21 June, Jewkes, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court and was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs. He is also disqualified from driving for 10 years.
He had pleaded guilty at a hearing on 31 May 2016.
Jewkes blew a negative breath test for alcohol while at the roadside. However, the officer in attendance suspected that he was under the influence of drugs. A preliminary Field Impairment test (FIT) was carried out and Jewkes failed.
One witness described seeing Jewkes’ car skidding due to the speed it was travelling before the front end mounted the pavement and grass verge outside the Miners Rescue Service, close to where he hit Nicholas. Another described how Jewkes’ car drifted in and out of her lane.
People who saw the aftermath of the crash went to Nicholas’s aid until emergency services arrived.
DS James Greely from Nottinghamshire Police said: “We welcome the sentence handed to Jewkes today and hope that it can give at least some closure to Nicholas’ family.
“We now test for drug use in drivers at the side of the road on a regular basis and in particular, following road traffic collisions.
“There may have been a perception in the past that it’s alcohol which makes driving dangerous but as today’s sentence and the tragic events that led to it prove, taking drugs and getting behind the wheel can be deadly.”
“I have an excruciating pain in my heart”
Nicholas’ mother, Frances Highfield gave a tribute to her son:
“When the police knock at your door in the early hours you know something is wrong. But what they tell you is still unbelievable. My son Nick was dead. How could that be true? I had spoken to him only a few hours earlier. He was my youngest son and I saw him every day. We depended on him so much.
“I have been asked to describe the effect this has had on myself and family but how can you tell anyone how you feel when one of your children in dead?
“I have an excruciating pain in my heart. I have good days and I have very bad days. I cry a lot, even now. I talk to Nick every day but there have been times when I was so upset and angry that I could not go to where his ashes are scattered and for that I felt guilty.
“Leslie, Nick’s dad had such a great relationship with him. He was inconsolable and unable to get out of bed for the first few days after the news.
“Nick had lunch with us every day and when he left he would always give me a bear hug and say ‘I love you mum’. I enjoyed our jokes, his humour. He will never say that again, he will never hug me again. The person driving that car took that away from me and I will never forgive that ever.
“They say it gets easier but it’s not true, it gets harder. I miss him so very much.
“Nick being gone has left a gap in our family. Nick’s sister is not able to even speak about how this loss has affected her. The words stick in her throat with a physical pain that is all too real.
“Nick’s brother has seen the sadness in my eyes and feels helpless to do anything.
“Nick was part of me, I nurtured him. I never thought I would be burying his ashes, having died the day before his 42nd birthday.”
Drug testing kits
Drug kits for testing at the roadside were introduced in November 2015 using a £20,000 grant given to each Force by the Department for Transport.
Since then Nottinghamshire Police have used the kits to test 35 people and of those, 19 have tested positive.