Harrogate man caused serious collision while drinking beer behind wheel of van

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A Harrogate man has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after causing a serious collision while drinking beer behind the wheel.

Ethan Wells-Smith stole a Mercedes Sprinter van from a property in Darley before going on to be involved in a crash on the A59 crossroad with the B6451 in Harrogate on the evening of January 22.

York Crown Court heard Wells-Smith was drinking two cans of beer and trying to retrieve his mobile phone from the vehicle's footwell when the van collided with two cars.

The drivers and passengers of the Toyota Corolla and an Isuzu D-Max were seriously injured during the collision.

Wells-Smith was unhurt, left the van and the scene of the crash, and made no attempt to call emergency services.

But witnesses told police which way he had run and officers arrested him a few minutes later.

Wells-Smith, 23, of Darley, pleaded guilty to drink driving, driving whilst disqualified, causing injury by dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking at an earlier hearing.

As he was jailed today, the judge said he must also serve a three-year driving ban on his release from prison.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Quita Passmore, of the Harrogate Investigation Hub said: "Wells-Smith acted completely selfishly that night. He paid no regard to the safety of any other road users and chose to drive in a dangerous and irrational manner. The fact that he then went on to leave the scene of the crash without any thought to the people he had caused serious injury to, only adds further insult.

"I hope the sentence that has been handed to him today provides some level of closure to his innocent victims who have since been recovering from the serious injuries his behaviour inflicted upon them."

The 48-year-old male driver of the Corolla was taken to Leeds General Hospital with broken ribs, sternum and cheek bone.

The 72-year-old driver of the Isuzu was taken to Harrogate District Hospital with lacerations to his head and tongue and internal bleeding, while his 69-year-old passenger suffered cuts to her shins.

All have since been discharged from hospital.

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