Jail for driver whose lapse in concentration killed a Grantham woman

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A MOTORIST caused a head-on crash after simply failing to pay attention, a court was told.

Rachael Forster did not see a stationary van waiting to turn right ahead of her despite it being in her sight for over 300 metres. She reacted at just five feet away, swerving violently into the path of an oncoming car.

Ann Wallace, 65, of Belton Lane, Grantham, was a passenger in that car and was killed, while her partner John Brummitt, 70, suffered catastrophic injuries. His chest was cut open inside an air ambulance and paramedics massaged his heart to keep him alive. He suffered massive spinal and internal injuries, and remains in hospital.

Two of their friends were also seriously injured. They were all heading for a day at the seaside when the collision occurred at Honington.

Forster also suffered serious injuries, including fractures to both legs and her spine. She arrived at court on crutches.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court how she would have had between 12 and 14 seconds to see the van. Other vehicles behind Forster slowed down and one witness described her as only swerving out of the path of the van “at the last split second”.

Mr Brummitt later told police “this has destroyed my life”. He was so seriously injured he was unable to attend his partner’s funeral.

Forster, 23, of Belle Vue Villas, East Boldon, Tyne and Wear, admitted causing death by careless driving on September 29, 2011. She was jailed for 12 months and disqualified from driving for two years.

Frank Smith, defending, said Forster had been driving since the age of 18 and had a clean licence.

He added: “She has never even been stopped for speeding. She was driving thousands of miles a year for work. There is no suggestion of alcohol, no suggestion of drugs and no suggestion of excessive speed.

“She was organised and had planned her route. I can provide no explanation as to why this accident took place.

“As a consequence of what happened she now cannot walk further than a short distance. She has daily flashbacks and continues to have nightly nightmares. What has happened has been disastrous.”

He said she was full of remorse.