A police investigation has been launched after a drink driver was let off with a “friendly warning,” before going on to kill a pensioner in a horror crash.
Last month, nightclub boss Steven Hey was jailed for six years for causing the death of “magnificent” 80-year-old Dorothy Brookes in a tragic head-on smash on the A64 at Ganton on May 26 last year.
Now it has been revealed that North Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department is looking into how Hey, who had downed beer and vodka in the early hours of that fateful day, was allowed to leave Seamer with just a warning.
A drink driving campaigner has welcomed the decision to hold the investigation into the officer’s conduct, after a court heard they failed to force Hey to blow on a breathalyser which she claims would have saved the Hartlepool woman’s life.
“Even though they didn’t cause the collision, it seems that they could have easily stopped it – it’s an unbelievable failing from the police,” said Carole Whittingham, who lost her son to a drink driver over 20 years ago. “Not every police officer carries a breathalyser, but even if they didn’t have one, he should have waited for one rather than just letting him drive away and kill – it’s inexcusable.”
She added: “If the officer is found to be at fault, I’d expect nothing less than the sack.”
Hey was jailed on Valentine’s Day, having previously admitted causing Mrs Brookes’ death.
At the York Crown Court sentencing hearing, Judge Stephen Ashurst said Hey must have been “astonished” the Scarborough officer didn’t give him a roadside breath test.
Despite driving on an “outrageous” mixture of booze and no sleep, he was allowed on his way and later fell asleep at the wheel, killing the pensioner and injuring other members of her family.
Following the sentencing, Traffic Sergeant Hamish Halloway said the six-year stretch would give Hey “ample” time to reflect on his actions.
However, in an emotional plea in court, Mrs Brookes’ daughter Karen Thorburn demanded the maximum 14-year sentence for Hey’s crime.
Confirming the investigation, a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “As it is still ongoing it would not be appropriate to provide any further comment until this investigation has concluded.”