Burnley death smash driver has his licence returned by judge

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A DRIVER banned for five years after a death crash has got his licence back early as he needs it for work.

Steven George (now 36) had been jailed for three years in January 2008, after the motorist he was racing died in a collision.

Mr George had admitted causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop and failing to report an accident, after entering the “unspoken challenge” with John Suthers (34).

Burnley Crown Court had heard how the pair had not known each other, but began racing after Mr George’s Subaru Impreza had travelled at “grossly excessive speeds,” and too close to the Vauxhall Nova being driven by Mr Suthers.

Shocked witnesses had spoken of the pair racing at up to 90 m.p.h. for up to 1.2 miles along the 40 m.p.h. stretch of Manchester Road, Clowbridge, on October 20th, 2006.

Mr Suthers, who had moved to the Orkney Isles in 2005, but had been visiting his family in Rawtenstall, had lost control and crashed into another vehicle head-on. He was pronounced dead at the scene, but Mr George had sped off. He was arrested an hour after the smash.

The court was told Mr George now works for Barnfield Construction as an assistant site manager. It was hoped he could become a site manager and it would help his employers if he was able to drive from site to site.

Mr George, who had lived at Hordley Street, Burnley, when he was sentenced, was said at the time to have driven 600 miles a day in his job before the crash and had never had a single speeding ticket. He was released from prison in July 2009.

Judge Beverly Lunt, who had sentenced him to jail, restored his driving licence. She said Mr George had served four years and three months of the ban and in this day and age it was not easy to get employment. At the time of sentence, Mr George had sobbed in the dock as the judge had told him he would have to live with the fact he had contributed to the victim’s death.

Mr George is still disqualified until he passes the mandatory extended re-test which anyone convicted of a dangerous driving offence must take.