VIDEO: Drink-driver speaks of torment over crash that killed two of his friends
A young driver has spoken from his prison cell of the torment he feels over the crash which claimed the lives of two of his friends.
Michael York graphically details circumstances of the accident which killed his pals Matthew Brown and Samuel Turner and left him serving a five-year sentence for causing their deaths by careless driving.
The 21-year-old, from Hinckley, spoke out on a video made by Leicestershire Fire Service, which is to be shown in all schools in the county to try to cut the number of young people who die on the roads. During the five-minute video, York, filmed in his cell at Glen Parva Young Offenders’ Institute, talks candidly about the crash in Coventry Road, Croft, on October 21, 2011.
York, who was more than twice over the drink-drive limit when the crash happened, tells how he is tormented every day by thoughts of what he has done.
He said: “If I could choose 25 to 50 years in jail and not have those thoughts in my head, I would choose 50 years happily. It destroys a person. It destroys them.”
York tells how he and his friends had started the night by going into Leicester city centre for a few drinks. They finished drinking at about 5.45am and decided to head home.
CCTV footage on the video shows York, Matthew Brown, 23, and brothers William and Samuel Turner, 18, walking through town and into the car park at the Highcross. All are unsteady on their feet.
The footage shows driver York struggling to get the car out of the car park and on to the road. York says: “I don’t even remember getting in the car.”
Minutes later, a few miles from home, York loses control of the car and it crashes. Samuel Turner, of Stoney Stanton died. His brother William suffered a broken collar bone.
York, who was injured, says: “After we hit the first tree, I can remember nothing. It felt like my whole life had been ripped from me. It was horrible.”
York’s emotional words are mixed in with an interview with Mandie Brown, whose son, Matthew, died in the crash.
Their appearances are interspersed with shocking images of the wreckage of the car.
In the video, Mrs Brown, of Sapcote, tells how she feels that none of the friends out that night made a good decision about getting home.
Minutes before York was jailed, at Leicester Crown Court last June, Mrs Brown hugged him and said she did not blame him for the crash.
Mrs Brown was at yesterday’s launch of the video at the soon-to-be opened Birstall fire station.
She wiped away tears as she and 100 people watched the powerful video.
She said: “I had no hesitation in saying yes to helping make this video.
“If it helps stop one person getting into a car like Matthew and his friends, then it will have been worth it.
“I think Michael York has been incredibly brave to do this and I admire his courage as I know he is suffering. I shall write to him in jail and tell him all about today.”
Film-maker Ben Jacobson, who made the video, said he felt privileged to have worked with both people. He said: “Mandie has amazing courage and is an incredible person. I went into prison to see Michael and it was clear he was incredibly cut up over what has happened.
“Both of them will have to live forever with the consequences of what happened that night.”
The video is part of a package put together by the county’s fire service and the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Road Safety Partnership.
Also part of the package, which is aimed at year 11 pupils – aged 15 and 16 – is the VF4 – a souped-up Ford Focus which simulates a car journey and crash.
Fire officer Paul Speight, who put together the package, said: We are indebted to both Mandie and Michael for helping us.
“It is very powerful video and forms an integral part of a compelling package aimed at showing youngsters why they should never drink and drive.”