'Drink and speed are a lethal combination': Grave warning after fatal crash driver from Shropshire is jailed
Police warned of the "lethal combination" of drink-driving today as a man began his jail sentence of four years and eight months for causing the death of a rising star rapper in a crash.
Paramedics from the West Midlands Ambulance Service tried to save Mr Johnson's life but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators found that the crash happened when Birch, 23, failed to negotiate a left-hand bend in north Staffordshire with his Vauxhall Combi van in the early hours of February 9 last year.
Six hours after Birch was taken to hospital, the alcohol level in his blood was over the legal limit.
The investigation also found that Mr Johnson was not wearing a seatbelt in the taxi.
Birch, from Woore, near Market Drayton, was jailed for four years and eight months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today.
Sergeant Richard Moors, from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This collision shows the devastating effects of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.
“Birch knew he had been drinking but nevertheless he chose to drive that night. His impairment through alcohol clearly affected his judgement and he drove in a manner and at a speed inappropriate for the road as he drove towards Betley.
“The tragic consequences of his choices have meant that the family and friends of Blaine have lost a son, a brother and a friend.
"There’s no excuse to drive at excessive speed or whilst under the influence.
“I would encourage drivers to think carefully before getting behind the wheel and drinking any amount of alcohol.
"Drink and speed are a lethal combination and this collision has devastated more than one life.
“Also, whilst drivers have no legal responsibility to ensure adults are wearing seatbelts, I would encourage all occupants to wear them.”
Birch was also banned from driving for two years, which will start when he is released from prison. He must take an extended test before being allowed to drive again.
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