Drink driver jailed over rapper death

A man got behind the wheel after drinking six pints of beer has been jailed over the death of a rap artist in a crash in Staffordshire.


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Blaine Johnson, aka rap artist Cadet, was a rear seat passenger in a taxi heading to Keele University, where he was due to perform in the early hours of 9 February 2019.

The Vauxhall combo van driven by Jordan Birch, 23, from Woore, Shropshire, collided head-on with the Toyota Prius taxi on Main Road in Wrinehill at around 1.30am. 

Blaine was pronounced dead at the scene.

The taxi driver, aged 37, suffered serious leg and internal injuries in the collision, for which he continues to receive treatment.

A sample of blood taken from Birch, six hours after he was hospitalised for his own injuries, showed a reading of 87 micrograms, the legal limit for alcohol being 80 micrograms in 100 millilitres of blood.

An investigation by Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit found that Birch was driving was travelling at double the 30mph speed limit a short distance from the collision scene.

He was found to be driving on the wrong side of the road prior to the collision.

The investigation also found that Blaine was not wearing a seatbelt in the taxi.

Birch was jailed today (9 January) at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court four years and eight months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was also disqualified from driving for two years – which will start when he is released from prison - and ordered to take an extended test before he can drive again.

Sergeant Richard Moors, from the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This collision shows the devastating effects of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.

“Birch knew he had been drinking but nevertheless he chose to drive that night. His impairment through alcohol clearly affected his judgement and he drove in a manner and at a speed inappropriate for the road as he drove towards Betley

“The tragic consequences of his choices have meant that the family and friends of Blaine have lost a son, a brother and a friend. There’s no excuse to drive at excessive speed or whilst under the influence.

“I would encourage drivers to think carefully before getting behind the wheel and drinking any amount of alcohol. Drink and speed are a lethal combination and this collision has devastated more than one life.

“Also, whilst drivers have no legal responsibility to ensure adults are wearing seatbelts, I would encourage all occupants to wear them.”

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