Drink driver who left woman with life-changing injuries is jailed
A drink driver who left a young mother with catastrophic injuries after a hit-and-run crash has been jailed.
Dale Clark, 38, was speeding in his Toyota Rav-4 when he struck Rebecca Sharp as she was pushing her daughter in a pram across Redhill Avenue in Bournemouth shortly after 9am on 11 April 2023.
Mrs Sharp, 36, was able to push her daughter to safety moments before being hit and suffered near fatal head injuries, from which she is still recovering.
The motorist initially denied he was over the drink drive limit, but working with police, CPS prosecutors were able to prove Clark’s driving was impaired by alcohol he consumed the previous night – thanks to CCTV and witness evidence.
Instead of stopping at the scene, Clark fled and left Mrs Sharp lying unconscious in the middle of the road.
One witness memorised Clark’s number plate before rushing to Mrs Sharp’s aid with another driver.
After being arrested several hours later, Clark was breathalysed and had a reading of 46 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath – above the legal limit of 35 micrograms.
He claimed he had been drinking at a pub in New Milton following the crash.
However, CCTV enquiries at the pub in question proved Clark had not visited. In addition, a cleaner who worked at an inn Clark had stayed in the previous evening reported finding two empty litre bottles of vodka in his room.
Faced with overwhelming evidence, Clark changed his drink driving plea on day one of his trial at Poole Magistrates’ Court.
Having previously pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Clark was sentenced to three years and eight months’ imprisonment today (23 October 2023) at Bournemouth Crown Court.
He was also banned from driving for six years, with an extension period of one year and 10 months.
Andrew Coley, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex, said: “This incident has shattered the lives of Mrs Sharp and her family.
“It is especially shocking that when Clark saw Mrs Sharp on the ground with her young child nearby, he chose not to stop and instead left her for dead.
“The CPS worked closely with Dorset Police to build a solid case against Clark – using CCTV evidence to disprove his false claims that he was not above the legal drink drive limit at the time of the collision.
“Our thoughts are with Mrs Sharp and her family, and we wish her all the best in her recovery.”
Notes to editors
- Dale Clark’s DOB: 21/11/1984
- He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving a motor vehicle when alcohol level above limit, failing to stop after a road accident.