This is a story I shared on Twitter earlier this month. The driver, Steven Russell, was convicted by a jury at Warwick Crown Court and sentencing would follow. The sentence was passed down last week.
The circumstances around this case are tragic and sadly all too familiar. Here are some familiar phrases from the case that are identical to the M1 fatal that killed 8 people.
There was no slowing down or braking
There was no swerving or course deviation
Russell simply drove straight into the pedestrian. He died in hospital a few days later.
Russell had been constantly texting for 20 minutes prior to the collision. The judge stated that his dangerous driving started the minute his journey began. He was texting back and forth constantly and that there was ample opportunity to see the victim crossing the road. He didn’t. Some may say he was suffering from inattentional blindness. Others may more accurately say that he was quite simply a distracted driver.
The judge concluded with “Had you been paying proper attention you would have seen him and been able to react”.
He has been sentenced to 7 years in prison.
An aggravating factor in this case is that Russell, a lorry driver (therefore supposedly a “professional” driver) has previously been sacked for using a mobile phone to record an accident scene whilst driving.
Russell clearly had no concept of the dangers of his behaviour or simply ignored them. Whichever it was his actions led to the death of a pedestrian.
This case should serve as a warning to us all. Put your phone down whilst in the car and driving. Don’t use it for anything. Even handsfree. If you think you’re ok and a safe driver then think again. It just means you’ve run a knife edge and, so far, miraculously managed to get away with it.
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image by Paul Beard via Coventry Telegraph