A teenage schoolgirl has launched a nationwide petition calling for stiffer penalties against drink-drivers who kill after her brother died at the hands of one.
Jamie Still, 16, of Carlton Street, Otley, died after being knocked down in the town by a drink-driver who drove onto a pavement on New Year’s Eve, 2010.
In September last year Max McRae, 21, was sentenced to four years in prison and banned from driving for five years for causing death by dangerous driving.
McRae, of Warren Lane, Arthington, Leeds, was almost twice over the drink-drive limit, Leeds Crown Court heard.
He had earlier been doing hand-break turns and driving at speeds of up to 50 mph in a 30mph area. His girlfriend had begged him not to drive.
Jamie’s death hit his sister Rebecca, 13, hard.
Their mum Karen Strong said: “They were extremely close. She lost more than a brother. She lost her best friend. Even at 16 he never left school without her. He never minded his little sister tagging along.”
The two attended St Mary’s RC school at Menston.
Rebecca said: “Me and Jamie went everywhere together. It was a big shock.”
Rebecca and Karen both felt McRae’s sentence was inadequate. They talked about launching a petition calling for stiffer sentences for drink drivers who kill. Then Rebecca went ahead and did it on the Care2 website.
“I thought I’d just dive in and do it,” she said. “I think he should have gone to prison for a lot longer and should have been banned for a lot longer.”
She said she understood that McRae would likely be released in two years.
Karen said: “The first I knew of it was when she set up the online petition. It came as quite a shock. Rebecca is is a very quiet, private person and and always has been.”
The petition is at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/zero---tolerence-for-drink-drivers