Killer van driver who fell asleep at the wheel on the M1 in Northamptonshire refused bid to cut short his driving ban

A van driver who fell asleep at the wheel and ploughed into a stationary car in 2013 has had his application to cut short his driving ban refused.
A van driver who fell asleep at the wheel and ploughed into a stationary car in 2013 has had his application to cut short his driving ban refused.

A dangerous driver who fell asleep at the wheel on the M1 in Northamptonshire, killed a passenger in a stationary car and left two people with life-changing injuries was told he cannot have his driving licence back by a judge.

Former van driver Pernell Jackson was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in April, 2014, for ploughing his Mercedes Sprinter into a stranded car one-mile south of the Watford Gap services.

He fell asleep at the wheel while travelling at 70mph, veered across from the middle lane and hit the stationary Mercedes in the hard shoulder.

The impact killed 64-year-old Nottinghamshire woman Kathleen Cotton, who was in the back seat of the stranded car, and left fellow passengers Philip and Jane Tuxford with life-changing injuries.

However at Northampton Crown Court yesterday, Jackson, who has served his prison sentence, had an application to cut short his five-year driving ban refused.

Judge Michael Fowler, told him the original ban was proportionate given the devastating effects on the victims.

He said: "Its potential impact on the two surviving victims has been totally ignored.

"If they were aware that this defendant - having been sentenced to five years' disqualification - was then scrambling at the door to have that ban lifted two-and-a-half years, it is easy to see what their response would be."

Jackson, of Ivydene Road, Reading, had been drinking with a friend the night before crashing the Mercedes Sprinter in 2013. Text messages showed he had only slept for around two hours the night before.

Prosecutor Lisa Hardy, read out a victim impact statement from Mr and Mrs Tuxford in court, in which they described how difficult their lives had become since the horror crash. They were on the way to Heathrow Airport on February 14, 2013 and had to pull over when a tyre exploded.

Mrs Tuxford spent five months in hospital and Mr Tuxford suffered from amnesia which has left him with a "complete personality change," said Miss Hardy.

Making the application on his behalf, barrister, Stephen Moore, said the driving ban was affecting his job prospects as he previously worked as a driver, and was making it difficult to participate in family life.

Mr Moore added: "This is an incident that is out of character for a man that found himself before the court in 2014.

"This is a man who has demonstrated remorse and a real willingness to change."