After appearing at Warwick Crown Court on 2 February 2024, 21 year old THOMAS O’BRIEN-WOOD from The Beck, Dudley, West Midlands was sentenced to 7½ years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 8 years and 9 months for Causing death by dangerous driving on 4 October 2022 of his passenger Harry Colin Smart who was 20 years old at the time.

O’BRIEN-WOOD had pleaded guilty to the charge at an earlier hearing on 20 December 2023 where he received an interim disqualification from driving until his sentence today.

O’BRIEN-WOOD was driving a Ford Fiesta, and had failed to stop for West Midlands Police officers on the A446 prior to joining the M42 and was driving dangerously.  Due to the manner of driving, the initial pursuit was abandoned and the vehicle was lost.  A short time later, police received a 999 call stating that the Ford Fiesta had been involved in a collision as it entered the wrong slip road on the M42 Junction 9 driving towards oncoming traffic.  The vehicle had collided with an oncoming vehicle, killing the front seat passenger.  Officers arrived, and Thomas was intoxicated testing positive for alcohol and drugs, namely cocaine.

Speaking after the sentence today, Detective Sergeant Stephen Barr of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit added “We welcome the sentence passed down by the Court today but this will never compensate the family for their loss. The consequences of driving whilst under the influence of intoxicants added to the fact that O’Brien-Wood failed to stop for police before driving the wrong way down a motorway slip road have been taken in to consideration of The Judge today and are reflected in their sentencing. Specially trained officers are still working with the family of Harry Smart and we anticipate a tribute from them in due course.”

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