March 11, 2019 5.13 pm This story is over 30 months old

Teen couple asleep in car in layby when drink driver crashed into them

He fled the scene of the horror crash days before Christmas

A drink-driver who killed two teenagers after getting behind the wheel of a company car at the end of a works Christmas night out was today (Monday) jailed for seven years at Lincoln Crown Court.

Matthew Jacobs, 26, spent six hours drinking with work colleagues from a Lincoln-based logistics company and was so unsteady that he fell off a bar stool.

Jacobs, 26, of Lindholme Road, Lincoln, admitted two charges of causing death by dangerous driving as a result of the collision on December 22, 2018. He also admitted driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop after a road accident.

He was banned from driving for four years with the disqualification to commence on his release from custody and will have to pass an extended retest before being allowed his licence back.

Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, told him “The decision you took that night to drive when completely incapable of doing so is one for which you are wholly responsible.

“Just a few days before Christmas you went with a group of friends from work for a night out drinking. You drank and drank and drank. Beer, shots and whatever else you were drinking. You went out a little before 6pm and only stopped around midnight. It was clear to those around you that you were drunk.

“You had drunk so much that you were simply incapable of properly and safely driving a car.”

Lincoln Crown Court was told that Jacobs’ colleagues thought he had arranged a lift home or would get a taxi but instead he decided to drive the work’s pool car.

On his journey to his home in the Doddington Park area of the city he crashed into the back of a Ford Mondeo estate car parked in a layby.

Sian Chambers and Alex Ross

Teenagers Alexander Ross and Sian Chambers, both 19, were asleep in the back of the estate car. The couple both suffered fatal injuries.

Jacobs remained slumped at the wheel of his car only stirring when a passing motorist stopped to help.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said “This occurred in a layby on the A46 Lincoln bypass.

“This defendant was affected by excessive alcohol and drove into the rear of a car parked in the lay by. It killed two 19-year-olds who were lying down in the rear of the car asleep.

“His car drove into the layby and into the estate car. There appears to have been no reason for that manouvre.

“He hit the rear of the Ford Mondeo estate car with such force that the length of the Ford was reduced by two metres. The force of the collision caused the Ford to be pushed 43 metres along the layby.”

Jacobs was found by a passing motorist with his head in his hands and immediately said “I’m going to prison”.

Moments later he fled from the scene on foot. Police used a drone and a helicopter to search for him and he was picked up four hours later close to his home.

He subsequently failed a breath test and even six hours after the collision was almost twice over the limit producing a reading of 63 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath compared to the legal limit of 35 mgs. A back calculation showed he was more than three times over the limit at the time of the collision.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, in mitigation, said “It was a disastrous and tragic decision for him to have done what he did but was completely out of character.

“It can only be that the befuddling effects of the alcohol wrongly led him to believe that he was going to drive competently.

“This was a complete and utter aberration on his part and totally out of character.”

Ms Chambers and Mr Ross, both 19 were pronounced dead at the scene after the crash in the early hours of Saturday, December 22.

Mr Ross, who played the double bass, was a former pupil at Caistor Grammar School and subsequently at the Purcell School of Music in London. He played in both the National Youth Orchestra and the European Youth Orchestra. At the time of his death he was in his second year at the Royal Academy of Music and was auditioning for major London orchestras.

Head of Strings at the Royal Academy of Music, Professor Jo Cole, described Alex as someone she would remember fondly.

She said Alex was ‘a dedicated student and had a significant talent, with a marvellous dry sense of humour.’ She added: “I will miss him very much.”

Sian and Alex had played together in the Lincolnshire Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Miss Chambers was working as a jewellery engraver and, as a talented double bass player, was continuing to make music with local ensembles.

In a victim impact statement Charles Ross, the father of Alexander, said the lives of himself and Alexander’s mother Jacqueline had been completely devastated by his death.

“Alex was our only child. He was an unexpected surprise. He was a source of immense joy to us. There are no happy memories. There are memories of happy times but they are filled with grief.”

David Chambers, the father of Sian, said “She had so much to live for. Her future has been stolen from her as has Alex’s. We now have to come to terms with the fact that our daughter, sister and granddaughter is never coming home again.”

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