Dad who lost two children in horror A38 crash pleads with people not to drink drive

A father who lost two children in a horrific car crash in 1996, is pleading with people in Devon and Cornwall not to drink drive.

On 24 July 1996, Steve Kimberley took two of his children, Matthew and Lucy, along with his best friend, Ben Jewell, to Plymouth Argyle. The four of them were really looking forward to the pre-season game against Chelsea. It was a special occasion.

But on the way home to Cornwall, Steve recalls: "We got out of Plymouth and got down to Notter Bridge. As we came around the bend to the left, we were hit at high speed by a drunk driver who was driving a Range Rover.

"It hit us with such speed his car left the ground and landed the other way on the road. I remember the impact. At first there was this silence which was probably only seconds, but seemed to go on for a long time."

The horrific accident happened on the A38 during the evening of 24 July 1996. Credit: Vision Zero

Steve's 12-year-old son Matthew, 10-year-old daughter Lucy and 19-year-old friend Ben died as a result of the incident. The driver of the Range Rover also died.

Steve, who was left badly injured and confined to a wheelchair after the crash, wants people to know that drink driving is wrong and can have horrendous consequences.

He said: "I want people to know it is not ok to drink drive. If he hadn't have drunk so much alcohol, or any alcohol, my kids would still be here. I'd have grandkids. Nobody wants to outlive their kids."

Devon and Cornwall Police say that around 2,000 people are caught drink driving every year in the region.

Sergeant Owen Messenger says "there is no excuse" for drink driving. Credit: ITV West Country

Sergeant Owen Messenger, who is in charge of Road Casualty Reduction, said: "There is no excuse for it. Everybody knows what the rules are. Everybody knows the risk. Yet people are still taking that risk.

"That's unacceptable. Nobody leaves home and thinks, I'm going to crash and die today. Yet it happens on average to 4 people every day in the UK."

Devon and Cornwall Police are encouraging drivers to make alternative arrangements if they want to drink on an evening out.

  • Designate a group driver

  • Organise a taxi or lift home

  • Have soft drinks instead

The force has launched its 'Lift Legend' Christmas Drink Drive Campaign. More than 110 licensed pubs and bars are offering soft drinks to those who give free lifts home to friends and family.

Devon and Cornwall Police has launched the 'Lift Legend' campaign this December. Credit: Vision Zero

Devon and Cornwall Police ask that if you suspect someone is drink driving, you should call 999 with the make and model of the vehicle, the registration number and direction of travel.

Steve urges everyone in Devon and Cornwall to think about their own safety and the safety of others. Four people died on the evening of 24 July 1996. He says that could have easily been avoided if alcohol was not involved.

The memories of his children live on and he added: "Going to both your children's funeral at the same time, in your local church, is something you should never have to do."