Bexhill elderly women injured in collision with drug-driver

Two elderly women required hospital treatment after they were involved in a crash with a drug-driver, police said.

Sussex Police said Toby Matthews was driving a black Honda Civic which collided with a red Hyundai i20 in Bolebrook Road, Bexhill, about 6.13pm on Sunday, December 2.

Scales of justice

Scales of justice

The occupants of the Hyundai, two local women aged 79 and 72, were medically trapped, and had to be released by a combination of ambulance and fire service employees.

Police said they were taken to Conquest Hospital in St Leonards, where they were treated for serious and minor injuries.

Matthews, 37, a butcher, of Linden Road, Bexhill, failed a roadside DrugWipe, and was subsequently arrested and charged with driving with 2.1mcg of cannabis and 74mcg of benzoylecgonine (the main metabolite of cocaine) per litre of blood in his system. The legal limits are 2mcg and 50mcg respectively.

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (May 8), he was disqualified from driving for 16 months.

He was also ordered to pay a £400 fine, £85 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

Sergeant Dan Pitcher, of the Roads Policing Unit, said: “Even the smallest amount of drugs in your system can be enough to seriously impair your ability to drive, and anyone under the influence of substances should never get behind the wheel.

“Not only are you putting your own life at risk, you are also risking the lives of other innocent road users.

“Drug-driving destroys lives and we will continue to deal robustly with offenders as we endeavour to make our roads as safe as possible.”

Police said a total of 240 motorists were arrested in Sussex as part of Surrey and Sussex Police’s Christmas crackdown on drink and drug-drivers, which ran from December 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019.

Of those, 108 have since been convicted in court. The remaining have either been charged, released under investigation or released without charge.

Police said these are the latest people to be convicted:

Troy Mengham, 20, unemployed, of Park Road, Bexhill, was arrested in Park Road, Bexhill, on December 5 and charged with driving with 7mcg of cannabis per litre of blood in his system.

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court on April 17, he was disqualified from driving for 36 months and sentenced to a 12-month community order, requiring him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Colin Cleaver, 53, a shop manager, of St Leonards Road, Bexhill, was arrested in Parkhurst Road, Bexhill, on December 7 and charged with driving with 2.8mcg of cannabis per litre of blood in his system.

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court on April 17, he was disqualified from driving for 36 months. He was also ordered to pay a £150 fine, £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Craig Newell, 23, a doorman, of Cumberland Road, Bexhill, was arrested in Winchelsea Road, Eastbourne, on December 8, and charged with driving with 64mcg of cocaine and 504mcg of benzoylecgonine in his system. The legal limits are 10mcg and 50mcg respectively.

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court on May 1, he was disqualified from driving for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay a £120 fine, £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Stephen Giles, 27, a roofer, of Cackle Street, Brede, was arrested in Sedlescombe Road North, St Leonards, on December 8, and charged with driving with 7mcg of cannabis per litre of blood in his system and driving with no insurance.

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court on April 24, he was disqualified from driving for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay a £400 fine, £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

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

They 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.