Driver Sentenced to 17 Years for Fatal Crash While Intoxicated and Speeding

Darryl Anderson was driving his Audi SUV at a high speed with his foot on the accelerator, approaching another car when he took a picture of his speedometer. The photo showed his vehicle nearing the other car, a collision warning light illuminated on his dashboard, and a speed of 141 miles per hour.

Moments later, he collided with the car in the photo. The driver, Shalorna Warner, sustained non-life-threatening injuries, but her 8-month-old son and sister were killed instantly, authorities confirmed. Evidence indicated that Anderson did not attempt to brake.

Anderson, 38, was sentenced to 17 years in prison on Tuesday for the May 31 crash in that resulted in the deaths of little Zackary Blades and Karlene Warner. Anderson pleaded guilty last week in Durham Crown Court to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Shalorna Warner recounted in court that she remembered her Peugeot spinning, seeing her sister severely injured, and after the car came to a stop, frantically searching for her son, who had been ejected from the vehicle due to the impact. A trucker who had stopped to assist found the child on the other side of the highway.

“I knew instantly. I had to pick my dead baby up from the side of the road. I hugged him so tight, a hug I will never forget,” Warner said. “No words will surmount the irreparable hole that has been left in my heart and in my life.”

Anderson provided false information to the police, claiming that a hitchhiker was driving at the time of the crash.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling stated that a roadside breath test revealed Anderson’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit. An empty vodka bottle was found in his vehicle.

Witnesses subsequently reported that he had been driving recklessly for 20 miles and his phone revealed he had been sending text messages.

At a police station, he informed officers that he had collided with the rear of a car.

“Sometimes mistakes happen,” he said. “But I’m not a bad person.”

Judge Joanne Kidd, who imposed a 21-year driving ban upon Anderson’s release from prison, stated that he had engaged in a reckless act and that the outcome was inevitable.

Defense lawyer Richard Dawson stated that Anderson, who was married with a daughter, expressed profound remorse.

Durham Detective Constable Natalie Horner emphasized that the police regularly remind drivers to avoid speeding, refrain from using their phones while driving, and not drive under the influence of alcohol.

“Darryl Anderson was doing all three of those things,” Horner said. “Anderson has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, but it is his victims and their family who have been handed life sentences.”