Swanscombe teenager jailed for using laughing gas moments before fatal crash
PUBLISHED: 16:55 06 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:55 06 April 2018
A 19-year-old from Swanscombe has been sentenced to more than eight years in jail after it was found that he had used laughing gas and had traces of cannabis and cocaine in his system when his car collided with another vehicle, killing two men.
Michael Morris, of Broad Road, admitted to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
He has been jailed for eight years and eight months, and will also be banned from driving for four years.
Morris pleaded guilty to the charges when he appeared at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday, January 12, and was sentenced at the same court on Friday, April 6.
The judge heard how, at around 1.05pm on Saturday, April 29 2017, Morris had been travelling on the A20 near to the junction with Eglantine Lane, Farningham, when he was involved in a collision with a van.
The two men in the van, who were both in their 20s, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Morris was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries and following an appeal for witnesses from Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, he was charged by postal requisition in November 2017.
The court heard how Morris had been with four of his friends and was driving his black Vauxhall Insignia car when he lost control and drove onto the wrong side of the road towards the blue Citroen Berlingo van, where both vehicles collided head-on.
The van then collided with a white Volkswagen Polo.
Three of Morris’ friends who were in the back of the Insignia sustained serious injuries along with Morris, while the front passenger avoided injury.
Morris was found to have trace amounts of cannabis and cocaine in his system, and was also found to have been travelling at no less than 72mph in a 60mph road before the collision.
Officers also found Nitrous Oxide (also known as laughing gas) capsules and balloons inside the Insignia, with Morris later admitting to using them in the moments before the collision.
Det Con David Holmes, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “On the night of this incident the weather was clear and the roads were dry and there was no logical reason as to why Morris lost control of his car crossing over the road and into the oncoming van.
“Nitrous Oxide is used recreationally by people and has many side effects which causes people’s reactions to slow down, and often gives a feeling of euphoria, drowsiness and loss of muscle control.
“The effects associated with Nitrous Oxide are not compatible with the safe control of a motor vehicle, as it can affect an individual’s judgement leading to reckless or careless behaviour.
“This is a tragic incident which claimed the lives of two young men and has affected the lives of countless others.
“I hope today’s sentencing is also a lesson for others to take responsibility when getting behind the wheel of a car because if you do not, you could find yourself in a similar situation.”