Death crash driver says sorry to family

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A driver who was three times over the drink drive limit when he crashed his car, killing his friend, says he hopes his friend’s family will one day forgive him.

William Johnson, 37, of High Street, Earls Barton, was driving along the A45 in Wellingborough on May 10, 2011, when his car flipped over a barrier and rolled down the embankment onto the Turnells Mill Lane slip road. He was almost three times over the drink drive limit at the time.

Front seat passenger Graham Stickland, 29, known to pals as Golfie, of Glassbrook Road, Rushden, was discovered dead, still belted into the passenger seat.

Johnson was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He is now a paraplegic as a result of the injuries he sustained.

He faced charges of driving with excess alcohol and was banned from driving for 52 months and given a two-year community order at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Speaking after the court hearing, Johnson apologised to Mr Stickland’s family. He said: “I hope his family are dealing with is and I am just really sorry for his family. I just hope that they eventually find it in their hearts to forgive me for what I’ve done.”

The court heard Johnson had a previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol on 2005.

Magistrate Amanda Robinson said her sentencing powers were restricted as Johnson had not faced any further charges. She said: “We are not dealing with dangerous driving charges, we are sentencing for driving under the influence of alcohol.”