September 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 31, 2014
A driver who caused a fatal collision on the A47 moments after texting and making calls from two phones has been jailed for six years.
Marina Usaceva, 31, of Padholme Road, Peterborough, was driving a green Jaguar X-Type along the A47 at Thorney Toll, between Peterborough and Wisbech, at about 4.30pm on March 15 last year, when she crashed into the back of a Peugeot 206.
The shunt pushed the Peugeot into the path of an oncoming Tesco articulated lorry – killing the driver, Sukhdeep Singh Johal, 27, of Welford Road, Leicester.
Police seized Usaceva’s mobile phone which she had denied using. A second phone was also discovered in her car. Examinations showed she had sent and received both texts and calls shortly before the crash.
She initially also denied ever using her phone while driving but then admitted she had been previously been caught twice – in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, in December 2009 and in Burghley Road, Peterborough, in October 2012.
Usaceva pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for six years at Peterborough Crown Court today. She was also banned from driving for eight years.
Sgt Gordon Murray said: “To contemplate using one mobile phone while driving is unacceptable, to use two such devices beggars belief.
“I hope that all road users, drivers and passengers will take note as to the seriousness of such behaviour. A passenger in a vehicle should challenge any driver they see committing this offence.
“The use of mobile phones when a vehicle is in motion is unacceptable.
“Drivers need to take themselves back to basics and concentrate on driving and leave the modern culture of using such electronic portable devices until they have stopped.
“Drivers need to think what the consequences could be. That call or text might just change your life and that of those involved.”
Mr Johal, who was described in a tribute by his brother Amandeep as “football mad”, had just one more exam before finishing a degree in Biomedical Science at Leicester’s De Montfort University.
He had been helping out at his father’s clothes store, The Fashion Centre in High Street, Wisbech, and was on his way home to Leicester when the collision took place. Despite efforts by emergency crew, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Thorney Toll Residents Association has campaigned for more than a decade for a speed limit reduction, from 60mph to 50mph, along the single-carriageway stretch.
Councillor John Fish, of Wisbech St Mary Parish Council, which includes Thorney Toll, spoke out last year about stepping up the fight to reduce the speed limit following the death of Mr Johal.
Cllr Fish said: “I have been campaigning for years to get the speed limit reduced from 60mph to 50mph. We have had numerous crashes and multiple deaths there.”
NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay is also a supporter of the campaign.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “We do not have current plans to reduce the speed limit. The setting of a different speed limit on its own does not necessarily reduce collision numbers or the severity of injuries.
“The A47 between New Cut roundabout (near Thorney) and Guyhirn has an injury collision rate below that of the national average for roads of similar character and shows a decreasing trend.”