Man arrested in Pevensey Bay months after causing death by drug-driving
A man whose drug-driving caused the death of a 65-year-old man was caught under the influence again just eight months later in Pevensey Bay.
Christopher Fenton, 40, was driving an Audi S4 eastbound on Fairlight Road in Fairlight, around 6.45pm on March 6 2020 when the fatal crash happened, police say.
According to police, Fenton clipped the wing mirror of a Volkswagen Polo travelling in the opposite direction, before mounting the nearside verge and then crossing into the path of an oncoming Citroen Picasso.
Police say the Picasso was driven by Marcus Haynes, from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. He sadly died from his injuries at the scene.
Mr Haynes’ 66-year-old wife suffered serious injuries and their 24-year-old son, from Stroud in Gloucestershire, sustained minor injuries.
Fenton, self-employed of Lower Waites Lane in Fairlight, ran away from the scene but was later returned by his mother, police say.
According to police, he also suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment. Blood tests revealed he had three times the legal limit of cannabis in his system, and alcohol levels that were just under the legal limit.
Enquiries by a specialist forensic collision investigator also revealed he was travelling at approximately 76mph in a 60mph zone prior to the collision, police say.
Police say Fenton was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was released under investigation pending further enquiries.
However, in the months that followed, Fenton continued to drive while under the influence – putting himself and other road users at significant risk, police say.
This resulted in him being arrested in Pevensey Bay on November 18 2020. Blood tests this time found he yet again had three times the legal limit of cannabis in his system.
According to police, Fenton pleaded guilty to this offence at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on January 8 this year.
He was disqualified from driving for 12 months, ordered to pay costs totalling £280, and remanded in custody pending the outcome of the fatal crash investigation in Fairlight.
Police say on May 10 this year he pleaded guilty to the offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving in Lewes Crown Court. Fenton was sentenced to a total of three years and eight months’ imprisonment.
According to police, he was also disqualified from driving for five years and 10 months, and must take an extended re-test should he wish to drive again in the future.
Lead investigator, detective sergeant Rob Baldwin, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said, “Tragically, this is another case which highlights the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
“Christopher Fenton got behind the wheel of his car having consumed alcohol and smoked cannabis, and then drove recklessly.
“He left the collision scene on foot whilst other motorists had stopped to render urgent medical assistance, not returning for over an hour later. Despite the devastation that he had caused, he continued to think it was acceptable to drive whilst under the influence of cannabis.
“Acting on information from the local community, officers from our Roads Policing Unit proactively targeted Fenton, resulting in his further arrest and prosecution. It is clear that he was an habitual cannabis user, who had no consideration for the significant risk he posed to other road users and himself.”
People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.