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Drink driver who seriously injured three people jailed

A 31-year-old drink driver has been jailed for three years after seriously injuring three people, including a child.

Samuel Staynings was nearly twice the legal limit when he collided head-on with another car on Brunel Way, Bristol, in November 2022.

The police investigation into the incident established Staynings, of Church Road, Bristol, failed to change lanes when the dual carriageway section merged into one when the incident happened. He had also just overtaken another vehicle at speed.

Chris and Jennie Owen were in the car he collided with along with a young boy.

All three sustained significant injuries.

Chris, 50, sustained fractures to his neck, leg, knee and wrist while Jennie, 55, suffered fractures to her wrist, hand and feet. The boy sustained abdominal injuries as well as a fractured vertebra.

Staynings was also injured in the collision and received urgent medical treatment at Southmead Hospital, where he also had his blood alcohol level tested. He was found to have 153 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mgs.

Drone footage of the vehicles following the collision

In statements provided to the judge ahead of Staynings’ sentencing hearing at Bristol Crown Court today (Tuesday 23 January), Chris and Jennie described the impact the collision had and continues to have on their lives.

Chris told how he felt lucky to be alive but struggled to accept how life changing his injuries are.

He wrote of how he once lived a very active life, surfing and skiing with his family but is now coming to terms with the fact he may never be able to do these activities again.

“The effects of the collision have permanently and irreversibly changed our lives physically and mentally for ever, through no fault of our own,” he said.

In her statement, Jennie wrote how the scene she witnessed continues to haunt her. She also described being distraught when, due to the multiple fractures to her hand, her wedding ring had to be cut off.

She also spoke of her pain at being separated from her husband while he received treatment for his injuries and of becoming his carer overnight.

“To have to watch my husband struggle every day with daily life is very traumatic,” she said.

“I find it extremely difficult to come to terms with as this situation could have been avoided.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Staynings has also been banned from driving for seven and a half years.

Sergeant Matt Boiles said: “Samuel Staynings’ decision to get behind the wheel of his car when he knew he had drunk too much alcohol has had devastating consequences.

“A family’s whole way of life has been changed forever.

“He will now spend a significant amount of time behind bars and I hope he reflects on what happened and never makes the same mistake again.

“I hope this case also serves as a reminder to anyone else who thinks its ok to drive while over the legal alcohol limit. Your actions can ruin lives.”

Drink driving accounts for around five fatalities each week in the UK.

All too often it is a passenger or another innocent road user that pays the price for this high-risk behaviour.

Reports of drink/drug drivers can be made online or by calling 101.

Alternatively reports can be made anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 and useful information is available on their website.

If someone is currently driving under the influence of drink or drugs, always call 999.