A DRINK and drug driver who caused serious injuries to his two passengers when he crashed into a tree has been jailed.

Thomas George McConnell was put behind bars for 20 months and disqualified from driving for five years.

McConnell was taken to court in relation to a single-vehicle crash in Bovington on the morning of Saturday, July 25, 2020.

Dorset Police received a report at 6.20am of the collision in King George V Road near the entrance to the army camp involving a BMW 320d that had left the road and struck a telegraph pole before colliding with a tree on the grass verge.

Police, fire and ambulance services attended the scene where they found the two passengers in the vehicle, both men aged in their 20s, with serious injuries.

One was flown to Southampton General Hospital, while the other was taken to Poole Hospital.

Police said one of the passengers suffered several breaks to his arm as well as broken bones in his toes, lacerations to his liver and to his mouth. The other man sustained a fractured spine and injuries to his bowel.

McConnell, who was driving the car, was also taken to hospital for treatment to a dislocated shoulder as well as numerous cuts and bruises.

Officers' enquiries established the car had been taken from an address in West Lulworth without the owner’s permission shortly before the collision.

A sample of McConnell’s blood was taken in hospital and sent for analysis. It was found to contain not less than 112 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. It was also found to contain more than 200 micrograms of benzoylecgonine – the metabolite of cocaine – per litre of blood, exceeding the specified limit of 50 micrograms per litre.

Dorset Echo: Thomas McConnellThomas McConnell

McConnell, of Water Lane, Winfrith Newburgh, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, February 18, after admitting two charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and an offence of aggravated vehicle taking as well as offences of drink and drug driving.

Police Constable Julie Wooliscroft, of Dorset Police’s traffic unit, said: “Thomas McConnell took the extremely reckless and dangerous decision to take a vehicle which did not belong to him and drive it when he was under the influence of drink and drugs.

“His actions left the two passengers in his vehicle with serious injuries that required significant medical treatment and serves as a further demonstration of the grave consequences of drink and drug driving.

“We are committed to keeping Dorset’s roads safe and will take action to ensure those who pose a risk to others by driving under the influence of drink and drugs are held to account and brought before the courts.”

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