Family of drink and drug driving victim back road safety campaign
Written by Scott McGerty on 6th June 2018
The heartbroken loved ones of a man who was killed by a drink/drug driver are urging people to avoid driving under the influence as World Cup fever begins to grip the North East.
Devastated Michelle Norton lost her only child, Lewis Knapp, last year after he was run over by a drink and drug driver during a night out in South Shields.
In the hope of preventing another family going through the same pain, she is backing Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) in urging people to leave their car keys at home before going out drinking during this summer’s World Cup, which kicks off in Russia next week.
RSGB NE is being joined by police and fire crews from across the region, as well as Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool football clubs, as it aims to reduce alcohol and drug-related road casualty figures during the World Cup, when alcohol consumption is expected to sharply rise.
It is kicking off the campaign at South Tyneside College in South Shields today (June 6), supported by Lewis’ girlfriend, Caitlyn Hardy, who will be talking to students about the dangers of drink/drug driving.
Lewis, 20, who was known as Lewi to his friends and girlfriend, died on Good Friday of last year after being run over by Connor Emms, who had been drinking and taking cocaine.
Emms, 21, of Sycamore Avenue, South Shields, did not have a driving licence and was driving at more than twice the 30mph speed limit when he hit Lewis, catapulting him over the car. Emms did not stop and Lewis died at the scene from multiple injuries.
He later handed himself into police when the alcohol had been eliminated, but the cocaine remained. He pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, drug driving, failing to stop after an accident, having no insurance and driving otherwise in accordance with a licence.
He was jailed for four-and-a-half years and disqualified from driving for three years, with an extended period of two years and three months.