Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2024
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Drunk driver shamelessly flirted with nurses minutes after killing baby | UK | News

Police Bodycam shows Darryl Anderson’s roadside breath test

A drunk driver engaged in flirtatious banter with nurses just minutes after killing a baby boy in a horrifying 140mph crash. Sick Darryl Anderson, 38, cracked jokes with medics after killing Zackary Blades and the tot’s aunt, Karlene Warner, 30, on the A1M between Chester-le-Street and Durham at 3.15am on May 31.

Anderson was behind the wheel of his Audi Q5 when he smashed into a Peugeot 308 moments after taking a photo of his speedometer. He was jailed on Tuesday (July 9) at Durham Crown Court after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at a hearing last week.

The court heard Anderson failed to help mum Shalorna Warner frantically look for her baby son after the eight-month-old was flung out of his crushed car seat onto the opposite carriageway of the A1.

Zackary and Karlene were killed instantly in the crash which destroyed the back of Ms Warner’s Peugeot.

Analysis of the computer in Anderson’s Audi Q5 showed he had his accelerator pedal pressed fully to the floor and didn’t brake before impact.

Anderson was taken to hospital as a precaution, “joking” and “flirting” with nurses, but refusing to give a blood sample, claiming he was afraid of needles, despite his tattoos.

Darryl Anderson

Darryl Anderson has been jailed for more than 17 years (Image: Durham Police)

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said a roadside breath test showed Anderson was almost three times over the drink-drive limit.

He had been drinking on the plane home from a holiday he ended after his erratic behaviour made his wife leave separately, the court heard. Police found an empty vodka bottle in his car.

Witnesses saw him driving dangerously in the 20 miles he had travelled from Newcastle Airport before the collision, with analysis showing he sent messages on WhatsApp.

Sharlona Warner had been to the airport to pick up her sister from a holiday, with her son secured in the rear of her car.

At a police station, Anderson, of Clarell Walk, Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, told officers: “I drove into the back of a car. Sometimes mistakes happen. But I’m not a bad person.”

Shalorna made a victim impact statement, along with her father Nigel and Karlene’s partner, Kieran Hutchinson.

Karlene Warner

Karlene Warner died instantly on impact (Image: PA Images/Family handout)

She recalled in vivid detail her car being spun round, seeing her sister seriously injured, then frantically looking for her son, screaming his name as she searched, after the back of her car had disintegrated in the impact.

Ms Warner told the court she was in the road picking up pieces of debris, trying to find Zackary’s car seat. A lorry driver eventually found him on the other side of the carriageway.

The devastated mum said: “I knew instantly. I had to pick my dead baby up from the side of the road. I hugged him so tight, a hug I will never forget. No words will surmount the irreparable hole that has been left in my heart and in my life.

“Zackary was my rainbow baby – he was the light at the end of a tunnel of a very dark time for me and brought joy, happiness and laughter into my life. My baby’s future, my future, our life together, has been stolen from me.

“And for my sister Karlene, I just have no words. I am so sorry this happened to you. It’s hard to process something that doesn’t seem real – it just feels like I am living a nightmare.

“I will feel the ripples of this pain for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I will be able to get through this – I am scarred, I am traumatised, I am petrified to live my life.”

Zackary Blades

Eight-month-old Zackary Blades died along with his aunt (Image: PA Images/Family handout)

Darryl Anderson court case

Darryl Anderson was almost three times over the drink-drive limit (Image: PA Images/Durham Police)

Judge Joanne Kidd jailed Anderson for 17 years and three months and banned him from driving for a further 21 and a half years after he is released.

Around 50 friends and family members of the two victims were in court for the sentencing. Judge Kidd told Anderson he had been playing “Russian roulette” with the lives of other drivers that night and a crash was inevitable.

Richard Dawson, defending, said Anderson, who was married and has a daughter, was “profoundly sorry”.

Outside court, Detective Constable Natalie Horner, of Durham Constabulary’s Collision Investigation Unit, said: “As roads policing officers, we routinely ask people not to drive above the speed limit.

Detective Constable Natalie Horner and Shalorna Warner (right)

Detective Constable Natalie Horner and Shalorna Warner (right) (Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

“We routinely ask people not to use their mobile phones while driving. And we routinely ask people not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

“Darryl Anderson was doing all three of those things when he collided with Shalorna Warner’s car, killing both passengers, Karlene and baby Zackary.

“For his actions, Anderson has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, but it is his victims and their family who have been handed life sentences.

“It is them who will spend the rest of their lives grieving the loss of their son, their grandchild, their wife, their sister and their mother. And for what?”

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