A delivery driver has been jailed for four years after causing a head-on collision on the A46 near Caistor which killed an 88-year-old woman and seriously injured her daughter, Lincoln Crown Court was told last week (Friday).
Andrew Roberts strayed onto the road side of the road and hit head on the oncoming vehicle as he headed back home to Grimsby and the end of his shift.
Roberts, who was over the limit when he was breathalysed 45 minutes after the collision, later removed cans of lager from his car and attempted to hide them in nearby undergrowth. He also deleted a text message he sent a couple of minutes before driving into the oncoming Renault Clio.
Audrey Roberts, a passenger in the Clio, died as a result of her injuries. Her daughter Caroline, who was driving the car, was seriously injured and suffered fractures to her neck, back and fingers, and a punctured lung. One of the family’s pet dogs also died in the collision.
Andrew Roberts, 28, of Evelyn Grove North, Grimsby, admitted causing the death of Audrey Roberts by driving carelessly while under the influence of alcohol following the incident on the A46 at Grimsby Road, Cabourne, on December 1, 2016.
He was jailed for four years and banned from driving for seven years. He was also ordered to pass an extended retest before he is allowed his licence back.
Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, described Roberts as having a “cavalier attitude” to drink driving.
He told Roberts: “Forty-five minutes after the collision, you provided a sample of breath which gave a reading of 36 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath when the legal limit is 35 mgs. It follows that at the time of the collision you were more over the limit and it follows that earlier on in the journey, after you had drunk the alcohol, you would have been even more over the limit. You purchased four cans of lager and the inevitable inference is that you drank three of those.
“This case is aggravated by your previous convictions. It is aggravated by the serious injury to Caroline Roberts and the death of the dog.
“It is also aggravated by your irresponsible behaviour. You hid lager in the vegetation in the hope that no-one would see it. It was a clear attempt by you to evade your responsibility.
“You had sent a text message to a friend some minutes earlier. There is no evidence that message being sent was a factor in the collision but you deleted it, which was an attempt to cover up what you had been doing.”
Esther Harrison, prosecuting, told the court that Andrew Roberts worked for the Grimsby-based company DD Fish Supplies and had spent the day making deliveries in the Northamptonshire area.
She said he bought four cans of lager from a convenience store just after 2pm and later, on his way home, stopped at a garage near Newark for more cans before calling at a fast food restaurant for a meal.
“He was heading back to Grimsby. The recorded speed of the van shortly before the collision was 38 mph. It was dark and damp but not raining.”
Caroline and Audrey Roberts were travelling in the opposite direction back to the Market Rasen area after attending a dog training session in Grimsby.
Miss Harrison said: “The van driven by the defendant crossed into the opposing carriageway. There was nothing Caroline Roberts could do to avoid a collision.”
She said that Audrey Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene. Caroline Roberts was trapped inside their vehicle and she was later taken to Hull Royal Infirmary for 10 days, and spent a further two days in hospital at Grimsby before being released.
Andrew Roberts later denied that he had been drinking while working but later told a probation officer that he used to drink up to four cans a day while working and thought that did not have an effect on him.
The court was told he was convicted of driving without due care and attention in 2007 and had a speeding conviction in 2013. He also had convictions for failing to comply with a traffic light and for speeding - both of which occurred earlier in 2016.
Jonathon Dee, in mitigation, said that Andrew Roberts had pleaded guilty and had been candid during his interview with a probation officer.
He said: “There is considerable remorse. There is considerable understanding of what he has put another family through.
“On the day, his last drink of alcohol would have been some time before the collision. He would have been over the limit.
“He was driving below the speed limit. He was not swerving and not driving exceptionally badly.”