THE mother of an eight-year-old Southampton schoolgirl who was seriously injured by a drink and drug driver has issued a road safety plea.

Kerry Mabey has warned drivers of the life-changing impact of drink and drug driving.

It comes after her daughter, Mariah, and Mariah’s grandmother, were rushed to hospital after being struck by a flatbed van driven by a man who had drunk alcohol and taken cocaine before getting behind the wheel.

On Friday, Christopher Godwin was jailed for 28 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, drink driving, drug driving and failing to stop at the scene of a crash.

Now Mariah’s mother Kerry, 29, from Weston, has urged others not to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs.

She said: “When I got the call to say Mariah had been hit it was the biggest shock of my life.

“You never expect something like that to happen.

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“You expect the pavement to be safe.

“Now I’m always scared when she goes out. I will never be able to let her walk on her own to school now.

“It has had a real impact on Mariah too. She used to be really energetic but she’s not anymore.

“Sometimes she will just start crying and in school one minute she will be fine then she’ll want to come home.”

Kerry added: “My message is that people should not get behind the wheel after taking drugs or alcohol, because I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what we have been through.

“It has had a massive impact on all of us and Mariah will be scarred for life now.”

As previously reported in the Daily Echo, the incident happened in Bath Road, Bitterne, on May 25.

The court heard how Godwin was driving a Ford Transit flatbed van when he mounted the pavement and struck Mariah and her grandmother Michelle Hiscock.

Mariah, who attends Weston Park Primary School, suffered a broken elbow, skin injuries to her left arm and a laceration to her thigh – which will leave a large scar.

Godwin, a builder by trade, then fled the scene, speeding through a red light as he made his escape.

The 35-year-old was arrested soon after a friend’s house.

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He was found to be double the drink-drive limit and seven times the legal limit for cocaine.

In sentencing, Judge Peter Henry said: “You could so easily have killed both those people.

“You were in drink at the time, two times the legal limit, and you had in your system cocaine that was seven times over the limit.

“It must have been obvious that you had hit somebody, but you drove off.”

Godwin, of Alpine Close, Southampton was jailed for 28 months and banned from driving for four years after his release.