Fatal crash was tragic mistake

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A JUDGE ruled that a motorist made a “tragic, tragic mistake” when she strayed onto the wrong side of the road and caused the death of another driver.

Cheryl Avins was driving her transit van along the A15 at Thurlby when she momentarily lost her attention and crashed into two oncoming vehicles. As a result of the collision, on January 14, Rippingale 47-year-old Mandy Sewell died.

Mrs Sewell had been heading to Peterborough Passport Office where she worked as operations manager.

Avins (32) of Cold Ashby Road, Naseby, Northants, admitted causing death by careless driving at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday. She was given 250 hours’ unpaid work and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Mark Van der Zwart, prosecuting, said Avins’ vehicle suddenly veered over the centre white line near to the village of Thurlby and after hitting one oncoming car collided with a second vehicle.

Avins told police she remembered driving along the A15 and the next thing she recalled was her seat belt tightening and her van turning on its side.

Mr Van der Zwart said Avins had previously been diagnosed as suffering from sleep apnoea but there was no evidence she fell asleep at the wheel.

Judge Sean Morris told her: “You were driving to work and for some reason that you cannot fathom your car drifted and, tragically, Mandy Sewell happened to be in the path.

“You are a decent hard-working woman who has never been in trouble with the law. You were not in drink and you were not on any form of medication that could have caused this.

“Nobody set out that day to kill. This is not a murder. This is a tragic, tragic mistake. This was a momentary lack of attention that resulted in such tragic consequences.”

Simon Clarke, defending, said Avins acknowledged the grief the Sewell family had suffered and that no-one would ever know why the crash happened.