A teenage driver who took her uncle’s car and ploughed into the side of a taxi, killing a mother of two in the back of the cab, has been jailed.
Unqualified driver Danielle Bartlett, 18, was speeding and over the alcohol limit. She fled the scene after the crash in which 42-year-old Anna Downey died.
Originally from Leamington, Bartlett, of Westleigh Road, Leicester, was jailed for three years and banned from driving for three-and-a-half years.
She had pleaded guilty in October 2015 to causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink, having no insurance and driving without a licence.
Prosecutor James Armstrong-Holmes said on October 10 Bartlett, after drinking, left her uncle’s home at about 11.45pm with his car keys without his knowledge. She then drove off in his Vauxhall Astra.
Meanwhile, mother-of-two Ms Downey, who worked in child protection, was on her way back to her Coventry home in a black cab.
While on London Road in Coventry, Bartlett hit the cab at 52mph in a 40mph zone on the side where Ms Downey was sitting, which resulted in her death. Following the crash, Bartlett fled to her grandfather’s and kept saying to him: “What have I done?”
Mr Armstrong-Holmes read out a statement by Ms Downey’s 12-year-old daughter, who said: “I miss you so much mum. It is hard to put into words how much I want to see you again.”
Isabel Wilson, defending, argue that Bartlett’s driving had been ‘over the speed limit, but not excessively so.’
But Judge Stephen Eyre QC interjected: “The evidence is of this being the culmination of a period of driving above the limit, and at some stages excessively above the limit.”
Sentencing Bartlett, Judge Eyre said: “You drove at speed, and at the time of the collision you were driving at 52 in a 40 limit. You drove at excessive speed for a significant period of time.
“This is in the upper bracket of cases of careless driving, and matters are made worse by the fact that you left the scene of this accident.
“I accept you have genuine remorse, and that you realise and truly regret the effect your irresponsible actions have had.
“One of the sadnesses of this is that your conduct killed a woman working in child protection, working to protect other children from the kind of damage you have suffered.”