Marcus Phillips, now known as Marcus Saunders, has been handed a prison sentence after being found guilty of causing death by careless driving in a single-vehicle collision near Henfield. The incident occurred in the early hours of May 29, 2021, on the A2037 as Phillips was driving southbound.
Tragically, the collision involved a black Vauxhall that collided with a tree. Patrick Calum O’Sullivan, a 24-year-old passenger from the Broadbridge Heath area of Horsham, lost his life in the accident.
Phillips left the scene of the collision but later sought medical treatment for his injuries at an accident and emergency facility. Subsequent testing revealed that he was above the prescribed alcohol limit at the time of the collision.
During his court appearance at Hove Crown Court on February 17, Phillips, a 22-year-old landscape gardener from Mannings Heath near Horsham, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed alcohol limit, as well as causing death while uninsured.
On May 18th, Phillips stood before the same court for his sentencing. He received a prison term of five years and one month for causing death by careless driving while over the alcohol limit. Half of the sentence will be served in custody, with the remaining portion to be spent on license subject to conditions.
Additionally, Phillips admitted the charge of causing death while uninsured, resulting in a concurrent 12-month prison sentence, which is part of the overall term of five years and one month.
In addition to the prison sentence, Phillips was disqualified from driving for five and a half years and will be required to take an extended re-test before being allowed to drive again.
The court was informed that the collision occurred around 12:15 a.m. on May 29, 2021, when Phillips failed to negotiate a bend in the road, resulting in the vehicle colliding with a tree. The impact was severe, and the speedometer remained stuck at 75mph, suggesting excessive speed at the time.
Phillips underwent a blood test at the hospital, which indicated an estimated alcohol level of 144 micrograms per liter of blood, surpassing the legal limit of 80 micrograms per liter.
During the sentencing, Judge Jeremy Gold KC emphasized the severity of the offense, stating, “There can be no starker illustration of a case of drunken driving. The seriousness of the driving falls just short of dangerous driving. There is no doubt that the degree of intoxication was a significant factor.”
Following the conclusion of the case, Laura Crosbie, Calum’s mother, expressed her grief, saying, “There are no winners today. We have all lost someone irreplaceable, and no sentence will do anything to ease that loss.”
Detective Sergeant Rob Baldwin from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit highlighted the tragic nature of the incident and the importance of refraining from drinking and driving. He stated, “This was an entirely preventable and avoidable incident that has caused pain and heartache. It should be a warning to everyone not to drink alcohol and drive, and also not to get into a car as a passenger with a driver who has been drinking.”