A tragic story has emerged of a father receiving a lengthy prison sentence after his disabled son was killed trying to cross a busy motorway following a crash. This heartbreaking case highlights the immense dangers of driving under the influence and attempting to flee the scene of an accident.
On August 5th, 2022, 37-year-old Matthew Rycroft had been drinking and driving in an Audi Q5 with his 12-year-old autistic son, Callum, in West Yorkshire, England. Rycroft crashed into a barrier and flipped his car on the slip road leading to a motorway service station.
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Father and Son Flee Across Motorway
After the crash, Rycroft and Callum exited the overturned vehicle and proceeded to walk almost a mile along the edge of the busy M62 motorway. Shocking CCTV footage showed Rycroft stumbling and falling, only to be helped up by Callum, who had no traffic awareness due to his disability.
Rycroft continued across the motorway, followed by Callum. Tragically, as the boy crossed, he was hit by an oncoming vehicle. Rycroft did not stop or look back for his injured son, but rather kept walking to hide in bushes 400 yards away, where police later found him.
10 Year Sentence for Manslaughter and Other Charges
Last week, Rycroft was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to manslaughter, dangerous driving, and failing to provide a breath specimen. The court heard how Callum “worshipped the ground [his father] walked on,” making his death all the more tragic.
Callum’s mother, Claire Bancroft, spoke of her unforgiveness towards Rycroft in a victim impact statement. She explained how Callum was born with spina bifida and diagnosed with autism at age four, but had a bright future ahead of him.
Father Declined Offer to Stay Over
On the night of the incident, Rycroft had visited his parents with Callum and then went drinking at a cricket club. Concerned about his intoxicated state, Rycroft’s father offered to let him stay the night, but he declined and set off driving regardless.
In sentencing, the judge condemned Rycroft for putting Callum in grave danger by fleeing across the motorway. This needless tragedy serves as a sobering reminder of the potential consequences of driving under the influence.
The heartbreaking death of Callum Rycroft highlights the extreme risks of drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident. No parent should have to bury a child due to the reckless actions of a loved one. As motorists, we all have a duty to drive responsibly and take care of vulnerable passengers. This case stands as a stark warning against driving while intoxicated.