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Widow warns of devastating consequences of drink driving

Karen and Eric Codling

The widow of a drink drive victim is speaking out to warn of the devastating consequences of drinking and driving. Karen Codling's husband Eric was killed in 2013 by a driver who was twice over the limit. She's now backing South Yorkshire Police's 'No Regrets' Christmas drink drive campaign.

For the first year, it was like living someone else’s life, it didn’t seem real.

I kept expecting him to come home after work, to give me a hug and ask how my day was, but then the stark, harsh reality would dawn and I’d remember that would never happen again.

His life, our life with our two young daughters, has been cut so very short because of the irresponsible and selfish actions of a drink driver.

She was drunk, twice over the limit and speeding, Eric didn’t stand a chance. He was out cycling, as he did every Sunday morning, fully kitted out wearing reflective clothing, his helmet; he was incredibly safety conscious, but he had no control over what happened. It’s absolutely heartbreaking and just makes me want to cry.

If by speaking out about our loss because of the actions of a drink driver, and by supporting the police’s campaign, even if it only prevents one other family having to go through what we have, it will have been 100% worth it and I would urge people to please think twice before getting behind the wheel.

– Karen Codling

Eric was 55-years-old when he was hit by a 26-year-old driver on Whirlowdale Road, close to the junction with Abbey Lane in Sheffield, on Sunday 3 November 2013 at around 8am.

The driver was convicted in July last year of death by dangerous driving, driving while over the prescribed limit, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and failing to report a collision.

She was sentenced to four years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for six years on her release, and then she must also take an extended driving test.

The drink driving strand of the campaign has been funded by South Yorkshire’s Safer Roads Partnership, and will be promoted across the county throughout December via outdoor advertising on billboards and buses, as well as electronic screens in bars and pubs and radio adverts.

We don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves with friends and family during the festive season, but we want them to think about the negative, life changing possibilities for them if they choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

The traumatic and painful impact it can have on other peoples’ lives, as with Karen and her family, is a constant and agonising reminder of knowing your reckless and thoughtless actions have caused the destruction of someone else’s life.

Our Roads Policing Officers will be out in force across the month of December, stopping vehicles and carrying out breath tests, to ensure we catch those who believe they can take the law into their own hands, and prevent innocent people from becoming victims this Christmas.

– Chief Inspector Glen Suttenwood