A drink-driver who killed a Northamptonshire grandmother after he lost control of his vehicle following a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre on a bend has been jailed for five years.
Andrew Den-Drijver, aged 28, killed Janice Buckland, aged 51, after his Renault Megane careered on to the pavement of Jubilee Avenue in Corby at about midday on January 24 last year.
Northampton Crown Court heard Mrs Buckland, a grandmother-of-five, had been walking along the pavement with some shopping when she was hit by Den-Drijver’s vehicle.
Luke Blackburn, prosecuting, said Den-Drijver, of Stalbridge Walk, Corby, had carried out an overtaking manoeuvre on a bend in the road after the vehicle in front had stopped at a zebra crossing.
Mr Blackburn said: “The driver of the car that was overtaken said the defendant’s vehicle nearly collided with his. He said Den-drijver then lost control of his vehicle and mounted the kerb.
“Other witnesses described the back end of the defendant’s vehicle snaking. The witness said he was going too fast and lost control.
Mr Blackburn said one witness estimated the speed of Den-drijver’s vehicle to be 60mph. The speed limit on the road was 40mph.
By chance, a paramedic arrived at the scene and an air ambulance 30 minutes later. However, Mrs Buckland is believed to have died within a second of being hit by the car.
The court heard the road was wet on the day of the crash and Den-Drijver’s vehicle was in a poor condition. He admitted that he had put a misaligned tyre on the front right of the vehicle and a rear tyre was worn below the legal limit.
However, a collision expert found the vehicle defects had not contributed towards the crash.
After being arrested Den-Drijver was breathalysed and gave a reading of 81 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
He admitted that he had been drinking beer and vodka until 3am on the day but thought he was “fine to drive.”
A family statement read to the court revealed that Mrs Buckland was a much loved wife, mother and grandmother who was “at the centre of a very close family.”
She was a carer to her father and had been happily married for 36 years.
William Falshaw, mitigating, said his client , who pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, felt “deeply remorseful”.
Mr Falshaw said his client “does not know why” he made the overtaking manoeuvre as he was not in a hurry.
Judge Rupert Mayo, sentencing, said no sentence he passed could bring justice to Mrs Buckland’s family.
He said: “This tragic incident was entirely avoidable, you had too much alcohol in your body and you made the decision to drive with fatal consequences.”
Judge Mayo sentenced Den-Drijver to five years and two months in jail. He is likely to serve half in custody before being released on licence. He was disqualified from driving for four years. His driving ban will start once he is released from prison.