Driver jailed for knocking down and killing grandad while racing through Billingham
A hit and run driver who killed a grandad has been jailed for more than six years.
Richard Huitson, 37, who does not hold a licence, was driving a Land Rover Discovery at nearly twice the speed limit when he lost control at a roundabout in Billingham and the vehicle launched into the air.
On landing it collided with 72-year-old pedestrian William Lewis, known as Billy, who suffered fatal injuries and died a short time later.
Afterwards, cowardly Huitson was ferried away from the scene in a white Ford Transit that he was racing with.
Police are still trying to trace the driver of that vehicle.
On Tuesday, Huitson was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison at Teesside Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving last week.
He was the sole occupant of the Discovery travelling west along Belasis Avenue when it left the road on the roundabout at Chiltons Avenue at around 8.30pm on Friday, August 23.
Rachel Masters, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant failed to negotiate the roundabout in the conventional manner.
“The defendant drove over the incline outer edge of the roundabout and the Land Rover Discovery was launched into the air.
“Upon landing next to a pedestrian footpath he collided with Mr Lewis.
“It was later discovered it was being driven at a speed of 57mph as it launched into the air, nearly twice the legal limit for that road.”
A neighbour, who was watching TV, described hearing skidding and a loud bang.
Members of the public tried to go to Mr Lewis’s aid but he died soon after as a result of the injuries he sustained.
Just seven seconds after the collision, CCTV captured the Transit van arrive on the scene.
An unidentified man got out and Huitson got in the passenger side. It then left the scene towards Port Clarence.
Mr Lewis left a wife, daughter, three grandchildren and five great-grandchilren.
In a statement, his daughter Melanie Segrave said: “On behalf of our close knit family we would like the court to know how the events of Friday 23rd August 2019 has taken the heart of our family from us.
“Our family has been irreversibly broken, out loss felt every day and what makes it so much more difficult to comprehend is that the whole incident was unnecessary.
“As a person Billy was a strong, hardworking, kind, loving, patient and, funny man; who doted on his family. How empty our lives are without him is indescribable and what we miss about him is simply everything.
“We respect the court decision today but nothing can even compare to the life sentence we as a family are starting.”
Anyone with information about the driver of the Transit van (registration ND57 NJ0) is asked to contact Stockton CID on 101 quoting 144994.