Published: 14:20, 13 September 2021
| Updated: 19:31, 13 September 2021
A drunk Sittingbourne man killed a teenage friend and left four pals badly injured after "driving like an idiot" and losing control of his car while trying to flee from police.
The tragic incident happened on a road between Egerton and Pluckley on July 4 last year and left 17-year-old, Millie Greenway dead.
The crash happened the day the government relaxed Covid restrictions on pubs re-opening
Fahren Smith, 20, his girlfriend Amelia Harwood, 18, pals Harry Abbott, 20 and his girlfriend Emmie Kislingbury, 18, Nicholas Korpal, 20 and 17-year-old Millie Greenway had all piled into a four seater car.
The group had gone drinking at the Rose and Crown Pub, near Pluckley but after downing booze Smith - who had no driving licence - got back into his car despite there only being four seat belts in the vehicle.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how after spotting a police car nearby he sped away after spinning the wheels.
Within seconds the Suzuki had struck a concrete post and landed in a garden where four of the passengers were trapped in the wreckage and Millie was dead from her injuries.
Now Smith, of West Street, has been jailed for six years and four months after earlier admitting causing the death of Millie and causing serious injuries to four others by his dangerous driving.
Prosecutor Daniel Stevenson said: "The collision occurred on the date the government permitted a relaxing of some lockdown restrictions, which included the re-opening of pubs.
"The defendant obtained this vehicle despite not having a valid car driving licence and had not told his friends."
After leaving the pub Smith travelled a few yards to get fuel from a petrol station when he spotted a police van was travelling along the A20 towards Ashford.
The prosecutor added: "He immediately began to accelerate away from the van, before driving erratically and at speed along narrow country roads to avoid being apprehended by the police van.
"The defendant obtained this vehicle despite not having a valid car driving licence and had not told his friends..."
"According to Mr Korpal, the defendant nearly lost control when turning from the A20 towards Lenham, and narrowly avoided leaving the road.
"Whilst travelling on country lanes the defendant was slamming on his brakes and accelerating heavily.
"Emmie was arguing with her boyfriend Harry because she was telling him that she did not want to get in the car with the defendant because he had been drinking.
"She made attempts to phone others to get alternative transport, but she did not have a proper mobile phone signal and reluctantly got into the car."
He said Smith immediately accelerated despite Emmie telling him to slow down but he ignored her pleas and she estimated he was exceeding 60mph on a road unsuitable for such speed.
Smith lost control of his vehicle, which left the road and ended up in the garden of Peter and Joan Ross, in Kingsland Lane, Mundy Bois.
Mr Stevenson told how when police officers arrived at the scene less than a minute later, they were confronted by an irate Smith who was shouting and crying.
Smith told officers: “I see the gavvar car so I started chavving it”, and “you started spinning it around so I started chavving, chase innit”.
But the court heard how he had managed to get his girlfriend free - but the other four passengers were trapped.
Officers used a fire extinguisher after finding the wreckage in Kingsland Lane still sparking - and tests later showed that Smith was more than twice over the drink-drive limit.
The prosecutor added: "Both police officers and paramedics made substantial efforts to try to resuscitate Millie, using CPR. However, she was too severely injured to recover.
"Millie passed away in the ambulance on-route to hospital from her multiple injuries.
"She was just one month shy of her 18th birthday when she died."
Nicholas suffered a fractured neck, and lower spine, broken ribs, and two complex fractures to his right pelvis.
He was also treated for a partially collapsed lung and lacerations to his spleen.
The court heard how Emmie's heart stopped twice, once at the roadside and again in hospital, and she had to be resuscitated.
Mr Stephenson added: "She received a fractured eye socket, which caused a bleed behind the eye and continues to cause blurred vision.
She suffered a punctured lung, blood clots in her legs, and underwent blood transfusions and was in hospital at King’s College Hospital between July 5 and 17 before being transferred to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
Judge Julian Smith, banned him from driving for seven years and a month, and said the case was "tragic and the impact would be felt deeply for many a long year."
He praised Millie's mother, Wendy - who read out a poignant and heartfelt letter about the impact of the death of her "beautiful, zany sidekick" who wanted to become a car paint sprayer - for her dignity.
'Driving laws are in place to protect motorists, passengers and the public and I urge young people, and all drivers, to behave responsibly when behind the wheel to avoid unnecessary loss of life like that in this case.'
Millie's family also paid tribute to her after the crash and said she had been living a "perfect life".
After sentencing, PC Lee Berridge, of Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Millie Greenway, whose life was so tragically cut short by this collision, as well as the victims who continue to suffer both physically and psychologically.
"Smith's actions were reckless, having no regards for the rules of the road or the safety of his passengers.
"He twice tried to evade police on the night of the incident, with the second occasion while his car was dangerously overloaded.
"Driving laws are in place to protect motorists, passengers and the public and I urge young people, and all drivers, to behave responsibly when behind the wheel to avoid unnecessary loss of life like that in this case."