A PEDESTRIAN was killed when a driver suspected of being over the drug and possibly drink limit lost control of his car and mounted the kerb while doing more than double the speed limit.

Durham Crown Court was told Steven Bell would have died instantly on impact as he was struck by Dylan Liam Dowd’s Audi A3 as he walked home to Bowburn on the footpath after seeing friends at a city pub.

The 64-year-old factory worker suffered severe chest, abdominal and leg injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midnight on Saturday March 2, last year.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said Dowd’s front seat passenger had urged him to slow down, telling him his speed, “didn’t feel nice”, as he headed to Bowburn from Durham on the A177 shortly before the fateful collision.

Dowd was estimated to have been driving in excess of 80-miles per hour on a 40-limit stretch of the A177 approaching and passing Shincliffe Village.

Other road users described him carrying out dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, narrowly avoiding striking an oncoming car, before failing to take a sweeping bend leaving Shincliffe, where there were several ‘slow’ road markings.

Mr Dry said a following motorist, who was overtaken at speed by Dowd a short time earlier, came across debris on the road, from a demolished lamppost, with the Audi stationary on the footpath, from where two men and a woman were emerging.

When asked if they had phoned the police, the other motorist was told there was, “no need”, so he made the emergency call himself.

It was only as others passers-by came on scene that it was realised a pedestrian was under the front of the vehicle and efforts were made with the arriving emergency services to revive him, to no avail.

When police arrived they saw the passenger recovering a mobile phone from the car, so officers seized it and rang Dowd, urging him to surrender himself.

Mr Dry said it was obvious he was running away, as he was out of breath, but he claimed ignorance of the accident, trying to suggest his car was parked elsewhere.

It was only later that day that he surrendered himself and a sample was taken, more than 15 hours after the collision, which showed traces of metabolite of cocaine in his system above the legal limit to drive.

He gave two ‘no reply’ interviews, but at a magistrates hearing, in February, indicated his guilt, and the 25-year-old defendant, of Mayorswell Field Court, Durham, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at the crown court hearing.

Victim statements read to the court by a family member and colleague of the “much-loved” Mr Bell spoke of their great sense of loss at his death.

Chris Knox, in mitigation, said Dowd was unaware he had struck a pedestrian at the time, adding: “He thought he was running from a car crash, not a fatal accident.”

But, Mr Knox said after his initial reluctance to accept responsibility, he has been left “devastated” by the “catastrophic” consequences, leaving him facing his first custodial sentence.

Judge James Adkin passed a 68-month prison sentence and banned Dowd from driving for 82-months.