A HERNE Bay teenager has been jailed for five years after causing the death of a charity cyclist while drink driving.
Bethany Mackie, 18, of Beltinge Road, was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court last Friday, having previously pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.
In the early hours of the morning of March 22 this year, Mackie’s Peugeot 206 collided with Christian Smith, 38, who was two hours away from completing a charity cycle ride across Kent.
Mackie did not stop immediately, but pulled over 400m up the road and got out of her vehicle. She was arrested by officers called to the scene near Chestfield in Whitstable.
Mr Smith, a father of three, had hoped to raise £1,000 for the charity Mind with his 248-mile endurance challenge. To date, his justgiving page has raised over £82,000.
Sergeant Glyn Walker, from the Kent Police Roads Policing Unit, said: “This was a tragic incident that has had far-reaching consequences for everyone affected.
“Christian Smith’s death has had a devastating impact on his family, friends and everyone else who knew and loved him, and our thoughts are with them today.
“Bethany Mackie must now live with what she has done for the rest of her life.
“Her breath contained 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, which is more than twice the legal limit.
“However, any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive so the only safe option is not to drink alcohol at all if you are planning to get behind the wheel.”
Sergeant Walker added: “The message about the dangers of drink-driving is getting through to motorists but there is still a minority who ignore the warnings.
“Our message is that if you’re drinking – don’t drive.
“And if you’re driving – don’t drink.
“Unfortunately, in cases such as this, it is an innocent person whose life is lost.”
Mr Smith’s wife Katie said: “The last eight months have been incredibly difficult and I hope after today that myself and my children will be able to start looking forward.
“I would not have made it through this time without the amazing support of my family and friends, for which I will always be thankful.
“I would also like to thank Kent Police for treating me with such kindness and consideration.
“I thank everyone in advance for continuing to respect our privacy.”
Mackie has also been disqualified from driving for five years and will be required to take an extended retest.