Driver who fell asleep jailed for causing death

Driver who fell asleep jailed for causing death

A pensioner who caused the death of a woman after “falling asleep” has been jailed for a year.

Colin Brown, 78, was in a van towing a caravan on the A66 which veered onto the opposite side of the road, crashing into an oncoming vehicle.

Ann Copley, 76, from Carlisle, died in the collision, near to the Llama Karma Kafe, east of Penrith, in August 2018.

Brown, of Upper Street, Layham, near Ipswich, admitted to causing death by dangerous driving.

Carlisle Crown Court heard he was travelling from his home in Suffolk to the Lakes with his wife and had taken three breaks during a seven-hour journey.

As Brown’s wife slept, the van drifted for 150 metres in around six seconds across the road into the path of car being driven by Mrs Copley.

The court heard it gave her “absolutely no chance” to react.

Mrs Copley was described as “full of life, happy and outgoing”, and “mentally still in her 50s, young at heart, very active”.

In a statement, one of her three daughters, Penny Allison, said the loss of her mother was “immense”, adding that she lived for her four grandchildren.

Prosecutor Jeremy Grout-Smith added: “She was, in reality, the only grandparent of those children, and they have lost that generation now in its entirety.”

Andrew Nuttall, defending, said Brown’s remorse was “wholly genuine” and he had been left “utterly distraught”.

“He fell asleep but he didn’t intend to do that. He never intended to hurt anyone. He never intended to drive poorly,” Mr Nuttall added.

Judge Nicholas Barker heard of Brown’s poor health and his own family tragedies but imposed an immediate 12-month jail term.

“There are some who may observe that ‘what is the point of sending an elderly man of your age into custody?’,” the judge said.

“But I, and this court, recognise that there is a significant body of ageing population who drive; who also hold a significant duty of responsibility for their driving to the care of others.

“That is the message that, in my judgement, must be made and must be sent out.”

Brown will serve a three-year ban when released although Mr Nuttall said: “He will never drive again.”

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