Suspended sentence for drunk Dagenham lorry driver involved in crash death

Charles Mayes, 95, died in the crash

Charles Mayes, 95, died in the crash - Credit: Archant

A drunk lorry driver who failed to stop after a crash which killed an elderly man has been banned from the road and given a suspended prison sentence.

Darren Kettley, of Porters Avenue, Dagenham, was behind the wheel of a tipper truck when he collided with a Suzuki Swift in Kirby Cross, Essex, on December 12 last year at about 10.25pm, killing 95-year-old Charles Mayes.

After the accident, Kettley, 47, stopped his car and called a colleague but then panicked and drove off. Police tracked him down after contacting his employers using a licence plate left at the scene.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard heard this morning that Kettley had drunk three pints of lager in the hours before his shift started.

A backwards calculation found that he would have been at least slightly over the drink drive limit at the time of the crash.


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Kettley admitted drink-driving, failing to stop and failing to keep driving records at earlier hearings.

Ian Allen, prosecuting, said: “It is accepted by the Crown the collision was not the fault of the defendant.”

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Laura Stephenson, mitigating, said Kettley was of previous good character.

She told the court he had held an HGV licence for 27 years, having been a driver in the Army including tours of the first Gulf War and a UN mission in Cyprus.

Kettley lost his driving job shortly after the crash and has been unemployed since January.

Miss Stephenson added: “He deeply regrets his actions and the remorse he feels he knows he will carry with him for the rest of his life whatever his sentence.

“After the crash he found himself in a state of shock and disbelief. He didn’t appreciate the seriousness of the crash.”

Chairman of the bench Dr Joanna Bisdee, sentencing, said: “You were aware personal injury had been caused and you then left an injured person at the scene.”

Mr Mayes’s daughter, Norma Clifford, said: “Accidents do happen but what the family cannot get over is the fact that Mr Kettley didn’t even call for help.

“He didn’t know what injuries my father had sustained, he just left the scene.”

Kettley was given a three-month prison sentence suspended for a year for failing to stop, a three month curfew with an electronic tag meaning he must stay at home between 7pm and 7am, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. He was also banned from driving for a year for both failing to stop and drink-driving, with the disqualifications to run concurrently.

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