Death crash driver’s jail sentence is cut
A learner driver, stricken by remorse after his careless driving caused a 17-year-old girl’s death as he gave her a lift to a party, has had his jail term slashed by more than a third on appeal.
Dominic Andrew Street, now 20, was jailed for 18 months at Leicester Crown Court after he admitted causing Tara Hirrell’s death by careless driving.
Lord Justice Toulson, who cut Street’s sentence to 11 months, outlined a tragic chain of circumstances which led to Tara’s death from head injuries.
London’s Appeal Court heard how Street, Tara, and their friend, Luke Hibbitt, left a party near Melton in the early hours of April 4, 2010, but that Mr Hibbitt was too ill to drive.
Street, of Lancers Drive, Melton, reluctantly agreed to get behind the wheel, the court heard, but insisted that he only intended to take his friends back to the party.
However, he ‘lost control’ after travelling just a few hundred yards, sending the car ploughing into a roadside tree. Tara, who was a front seat passenger, suffered fatal head injuries in the impact, dying two days later, while Mr Hibbitt was also badly injured.
Street, who was 17 at the time of the accident, had accepted full responsibility for his offence, the Appeal Court heard.
He was full of remorse and Tara’s family, who live in Wymeswold, were ‘not vengeful’ towards him.
His case reached court as he challenged the length of his sentence, which Lord Justice Toulson agreed was too long.
The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Langstaff and Judge Anthony Morris QC, said Street had decided that the ‘least worst thing’ was to drive the short distance back to the party.
“That was plainly a profoundly wrong judgment to make,” said the judge, but he added: “It was made by a youth of 17 in difficult circumstances”.
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