Jail for speeding driver who killed cyclist while texting
Friday 29 February 2008
A speeding driver who was sending a text message when she hit and killed a teenage cyclist was today jailed for four years.
Hotel manager Kiera Coultas, 25, was replying to a message on her mobile phone when she hit scaffolder Jordan Wickington, 19.
The teenager, who was not wearing a cycle helmet, stopped at the traffic lights momentarily and went through them on red.
Coultas admitted her BMW was doing 45mph in a 30mph limit when she drove across a junction in Southampton shortly after 7am on February 7 last year
Coultas, who has a four-year-old daughter, did not see him because she was replying to a text message from her estranged husband, Southampton Crown Court heard.
Mr Wickington, from Metley Abbey, Hampshire, died in hospital later that day.
The court heard Coultas, from Hythe, in Hampshire, has received three fixed penalty tickets for speeding - two of the offences were committed on a road leading to the junction.
She denied one count of dangerous driving but was found guilty by a jury.
Judge Jeremy Burford QC sentenced her to four years in jail and disqualified her from driving for five years.
He said: "The serious part of your conduct was that you were sending a text on your mobile phone having just received one."
He added: "It occurred at precisely the worst time because you failed to see the cyclist who was crossing the road having gone through the red light and travelling as you were at 45mph you hit him and he suffered injuries from which he later died."
He accepted the "shock and remorse" and "severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder" Coultas has suffered since the crash.
Mr Burford said she would have to take an extended driving test following the five-year ban.
Daniel Hickman, 32, the victim's half-brother, said in his victim impact statement which was read to the court: "The major thing is knowing that whatever happens in my life from this point onwards... Jordan is not there to share the moment.
"He is always in my mind and any happiness I feel in my life is dampened by the fact my brother has gone at such a young age.
"I don't think Jordan's death has completely sunk in. I now know how it feels to lose someone so close to you.
"It's like having a part of you taken away."
His mother Christine, in her victim impact statement, describes the moment she was told her 19-year-old son was not expected to live.
"Our lives changed forever on February 7 2007.
"As I held his hand and stroked his face as he slipped away, I felt as if someone had reached inside and ripped out part of my heart and soul."
She described her son as "kind, thoughtful and chatty".
His sister Laura Wickington, 22, described, in her victim impact statement how her life came crashing down.
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