A WALSALL businessman who killed a 25-year-old motorcyclist when he drove into his path after a heavy drinking session has been jailed for three years.
Steven Smith was still nearly twice over the legal alcohol limit 18 hours after he stopped drinking cans of lager and brandy when "momentary inattention" led to the death of Ryan Husted.
The 52-year-old, who runs SJS Engineering, turned right thinking another vehicle was about to pull out of a parking space and hit Mr Husted's Kawasaki, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard last Wednesday (October 9).
Mr Husted was travelling at 36mph in what was a 20mph limit and braked sharply, but he hit Smith's VW Golf.
He was killed instantly when he was thrown into a bus stop.
"This is a classic case of turning right across oncoming traffic when you failed to see this motorcyclist," Judge Robin Onions said.
Smith – described as being addicted to alcohol – had been leading a stressful life before the tragedy because of illness in the family and the fact his business was suffering.
He turned to drink and had downed a "considerable amount of alcohol" the evening before the accident, and was still badly affected many hours after his session.
Smith, of Muirfield Close, Bloxwich, admitted causing death by careless driving while over the alcohol limit and showed no reaction as he was led away to begin his prison sentence.
He has also been banned from driving for three years.
Mr Philip Beardswell, prosecuting, said the family of Mr Husted had described how their lives had been devastated and torn apart by the incident.
He told the court that when questioned by police Smith, who gave an alcohol reading of 67 microgrammes when the legal limit was 35, admitted he had simply not seen the motorcyclist.
Mr Andrew Barkley, defending, said Smith was "devastated" by the pain and heartache he had caused to the family of Ryan Husted
"Had Mr Husted been travelling slower he might have been in a position to avoid the collision."
"No sentence can put a value on a human life," said the Judge.
"I take the view it arose from momentary inattention."