A “RECKLESS” minibus driver has been jailed for six years after ploughing into a lorry at more than 90mph, killing one of his passengers.
Lee Burdon, who was driving under the influence of cocaine, was taking four of his colleagues to the former Fawley Power Station when the crash happened on a dual carriageway near Winchester.
Their Ford Transit minibus tried to overtake an 18-tonne lorry at high speed.
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But Burdon smashed into the back of the vehicle, “catapulting” the minibus into the central reservation and sending it rolling across the road.
Father of five Craig Hall, of Middlesbrough, North Yorks, was thrown out and died at the scene.
In a statement read out at Winchester Crown Court his widow, Jackie, said she “struggles daily” with her loss and can no longer sleep in the bed she shared with Mr Hall.
She added: “I met him over 12 years ago. A week later he moved in with me and we have been together ever since.
“He was my whole world. Now all that has changed – my life has been ripped apart by Lee Burdon’s reckless actions.”
The 20-year-old defendant sat with his head bowed as the court heard details of the horrific crash, which happened just after 4.30am on February 26 this year.
Burdon and his colleagues were making an overnight journey to Fawley Power Station, which is being decommissioned following its closure.
They were Travelling along the A34 when they tried to overtake an 18-tonne lorry.
David Reid, prosecuting, said: “The near front side of the minibus struck the lorry, causing the minibus to spin out of control. It rolled on to its roof, overturning twice before returning to its wheels.
“Craig Hall was ejected from the vehicle and came to rest in the carriageway. He sustained multiple injuries and died not long after.
“A minute before the accident the minibus was clocked at a speed of 92mph.
“Burdon accepts he had taken cocaine the night before. A blood test found he had 112 micrograms of benzoylecgonine – the main break down of cocaine when it’s in the body – in his system. The legal limit is 50 micrograms.”
Mitigating, Tom Gent said his client had shown “genuine remorse”.
Mr Gent added: “He accepts he was travelling too quickly and he accepts he misjudged the overtaking. Mr Hall was his friend, someone he saw as a father figure at work.”
Burdon, of Hartlepool, Durham, admitted causing death by careless driving.
Jailing him for six years and banning him from driving for eight years, Judge Andrew Barnett told him: “You can use the prison time to reflect on the devastation you have caused.”
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Source : DailyEcho