Drink-driver jailed after driving back from Christmas party three times the limit

Robyn Smith outside Lewes Crown Court today (September 12)
Robyn Smith outside Lewes Crown Court today (September 12)

A drink-driver who crashed into a parked lorry, killing her partner and injuring two other passengers, has been jailed.

Robyn Smith, from Smallfield Surrey made the 'conscious decision' to get behind the wheel of her Nissan Micra after her work Christmas party in Handcross while more than three times the legal limit, police have said.

The crash took place on the A23 at Warninglid

The crash took place on the A23 at Warninglid

The crash took place on the A23 at Warninglid at around 1.40am December 16.

Police said the 30-year-old told them in an interview she 'felt fine to drive' and therefore did not book a taxi.

Smith was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries but her partner, 34-year-old Anghelus-Adi Pieptea of Wakehurst Drive in Crawley, died.

It also left passenger Ellisha Adams, 22, from Kenley in Surrey with life-changing injuries and another 20-year-old passenger from Copthorne sustained minor injuries.

Picture courtesy of Sussex Police

Picture courtesy of Sussex Police

Ellisha's family said they took 'no gratification' with the outcome of the court hearing.

The lorry driver was unhurt.

PC Ian Foxton, of the serious collision investigation unit, said: “On December 16 2017, Smith made a conscious decision to drive having consumed alcohol. That decision had disastrous consequences for all involved.

“Adi’s family have lost a son, brother and uncle, and Ellisha suffered horrific life-changing injuries.

“I would like to thank both families for their patience and dignity throughout the investigation.

“The message from this case is very simple: don’t drink and drive.”

A blood sample taken from Smith revealed she had 262mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in her system at the time of the collision. The legal limit is 80mg, police said

She was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

At Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday (12 September), she pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to four years and four months, and three years and six months in prison respectively, to run concurrently.

She was also disqualified from driving for five years.

The family of Ellisha Adams said:

"Our daughter’s life was destroyed on December 16 2017, but equally so was ours and our family. She has been left a totally different person and a mere shadow of her former self and now faces a very uncertain and difficult future.

“No punishment could ever compensate for the life-changing injuries our beautiful daughter has sustained or for the tragic loss of a young man’s life, both so tragically diminished by this catastrophic incident.

“Our sincere thanks go out to the emergency services who attended the horrific accident scene, the air ambulance, and the doctors and nurses at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton who all worked tirelessly to ultimately save our daughter’s life. It is impossible to find the words to express our deeply felt gratitude for their professionalism, dedication, care and support.

“Hopefully the sentence imposed will draw closure on this nightmare and as a family we can return to caring for our daughter and helping her rebuild her life.”

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdownwebsite.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.

If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.