The family of a man who was killed by a drink-driver has issued a warning to anyone thinking about getting behind the wheel after a festive tipple this Christmas – “Don’t do it, no one is invincible and it’s just not worth it”.
Frank Martell was just 21 when he died when his Ford Focus was hit by Joseph Tame’s car on a bend.
Tame, 23, of Walnut Paddock, Melton Mowbray, was two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit.
He was jailed for six years at Nottingham Crown Court in June this year, after admitting causing death by dangerous driving, and banned from driving for eight years following the incident, on Staple Lane, in Balderton, near Newark, in April 2017.
Frank’s family face another bleak Christmas without him, but bravely say they don’t want anyone else to go through what they have had to.
His sister, Kirsty Martell, 32, described how her family’s lives have been “ripped apart” over Tame’s actions and said that Frank’s death was avoidable.
She said: “It’s absolutely ripped us apart – we are ruined by it, especially given that there’s no sort of logic to it. It makes it really difficult to get your head around.
“There’s no reason for him to have died that night.”
Kirsty, a mum-of-two who works part-time at Newark’s Odeon Cinema and is studying an Open University degree, issued a plea to anyone thinking of driving after drinking this festive season.
“I feel like even if people know the consequences, they still wouldn’t think it would happen to them.
“It’s typical of these young lads – they think they can do these things and that it would never happen to them.
“I would say just don’t do it – it’s not worth it, even if you feel okay to drive, it’s just not worth it.”
Kirsty said last Christmas – the Martells’ first without Frank, a forklift engineer for TBS Forklifts in Nottingham – was “really difficult, no one wanted to do anything”.
But she added that they had to carry on for the sake of her two young daughters, and her niece, daughter of Frank and Kirsty’s sister, Emily, 29.
Remembering Frank, who loved the outdoors and whose parents are Kathryn and Andrew, she said: “He used to love walking, especially in Derbyshire and around the Mam Tor and Castleton area – he used to drive there at 2am so he could sit at the top of Mam Tor and watch the sun come up.”
Members of the family did the Three Peaks Challenge and have raised £1,800 for road safety charity Brake. Frank’s girlfriend, Hannah Goodrum, also did a skydive for the cause.
Dr Ruth Tully, Forensic Psychologist, who is based in Nottingham, analyses human behaviour, working with victims and perpetrators. Her work includes providing expert psychological advice in prison parole board and court assessments.
She said: “Stopping a loved one from drink-driving can be a tricky situation.
“A person under the influence of alcohol is less likely to make reasonable choices. You have to step up to be their voice of reason, which can be a challenging task.
“These drivers usually don’t consider themselves as risk-takers, and often may justify drink driving by attempting to minimise the quantity of alcohol consumed, or they will tell themselves and others they feel ok to drive, when in fact their driving will be significantly impaired and put others and themselves at risk ”
She issued advice for trying to persuade a drunk person from getting behind the wheel.
“Christmas is an important time to consider drink driving risks, as people may go out with their work colleagues, and they may be tempted to drive home after drinking alcohol. If you and your friends plan to go out for the night, plan in advance who will be the designated driver, suggest other ways for the impaired person to get home, such as a taxi, and book in advance so this is easier and doesn’t interrupt your fun on your night out. If your night out is more spontaneous, make sure that you decide early on how you are getting home, so that later on you aren’t tempted to drive.
“If one of your friends is considering drink driving, be persistent – remember that the person you are trying to help is not thinking as clearly as usual as they are under the influence of alcohol. Be casual and non-confrontational but insist they find another way to get home. Reminding them it’s not worth their life, or someone else’s life, may help. Not only is drinking driving dangerous, it is a criminal offence and so if the person is still at risk of drink driving, reminding them of what they will also lose with a criminal record and no driving license could help. I have worked with people who have killed other road users because of drink driving, and it has ruined their own life as well as that of the victim and their family.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire And Rescue Service have joined forces to highlight the dangers of drink-driving, at events across the county.
On average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in a drink-drive collision.
During the Nottinghamshire emergency services’ campaign last December 654 breath tests were carried out, resulting in 140 arrests and investigations.
PC Andy Clarke, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “While we didn’t see any spike in drink and drug drive offending during last year’s joint campaign we are not complacent. Just one drink or drug driver on Nottinghamshire’s roads is one too many.
“This year’s campaign will again be using a combination of education and enforcement.
“Driving while affected by drink or drugs is wholly unacceptable and a crime. The results of drink or drug driving have massive life-changing consequences for those who commit the crime in terms of the loss of their job, relationship and freedom to drive.
“However the most costly of consequences are for those who find themselves mixed up in drink or drug drive incidents where a loved one is lost.
“Drink and drug drivers will not be tolerated on Nottinghamshire’s roads. We will be relentless in pursuing those who think it’s acceptable to drive while affected by drink or drugs and any drivers who commit offences throughout our region can expect to be dealt with robustly.
“The decision to drive when you’re over the limit takes just a split second, but the consequences could last a lifetime.”
“If you know or suspect that someone is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, try to discourage them but if they won’t listen to you ring us and report them.
“Call us on 101 or 999 if there’s an immediate threat to life or property. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
For more information on Tully Forensic Psychology, please visit www.tullyforensicpsychology.com