By Paul Thornton
A DRINK driver who killed a pensioner and left him for dead while almost five times the legal limit has been jailed for six years and banned for a decade.
Delivery driver John McManus, 42, crashed into Philip Taylor, 78, after mounting the pavement in his van at lunchtime on December 1 2008 before driving off and leaving him to die in New Stevenston, Lanarkshire.
The Bellshill man was later pulled over by cops who found a quarter bottle of vodka in his trouser pocket.
McManus, a first offender, previously admitted causing the death of Mr Taylor by careless driving on December 1, 2008, while he had 173 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the prescribed limit being 35.
He also pleaded guilty to failing to stop after the accident and failing to report it.
Today (Friday) at the High Court in Livingston he was sentence to 10 years in custody after admitting causing Mr Taylor’s death.
McManus was also disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 10 years.
His was one of the highest counts of drink driving ever recorded in Scotland.
Sentencing Judge Lord Matthews said: “I have no doubt that you are devastated by what you have done and that your own family share that pain.
“But it pales into insignificance beside the consequences visited upon Mr Taylor and his loved ones.”
His solicitor, Neil Taylor, said that his client had shown “genuine shock and remorse” for his actions.
Mr Taylor said: “He had not consumed alcohol from the bottle of vodka which was found on his person.
“He had been drinking in a friend’s house until the early hours of the morning of December 1, 2008.
“His actions thereafter, by driving a vehicle with little or no sleep and with the level of alcohol in his system… there can be no excuse for such behaviour.
“His actions were utterly inconsiderate and his decision to drive lead to the devastating results.”
The court heard previously that McManus, who ran a logistics business, had been delivering parcels in the hired Citreon Berlingo van.
Colleagues said he had left work early at lunchtime after appearing “tired” and “unwell”.
And although there were no witnesses to the actual accident, McManus phoned workmate Steven Kerr to tell him: “I think I’ve killed somebody.”
He said a man had stepped out in the road in front of him, hit his head on the windscreen, and was lying in the road.
Police later pulled McManus over after police were alerted to the casualty.
They detected the smell of alcohol and noted his speech was slurred.
A breath test showed he was over the limit and he was arrested and taken to Motherwell police office.
A quarter bottle of vodka was found in the accused’s pocket and, during the search, he asked: “How is the guy who jumped out in front of me? He just jumped out.”
Crash investigators concluded that Mr Taylor had in fact been walking on the pavement as the van struck him from behind on the lower legs.
He was whipped round by the impact round and hit his head on the windscreen, suffering what proved to be a fatal brain injury.
The van was estimated to be doing at 18-22mph at the time.
Mr Taylor, would have celebrated his golden wedding anniversary weeks later, left behind a wife and two sons.