Driver Using Cell Phone at Wheel Jailed over Fatal Crash
The case of Philippa Curtis, 21, from Suffolk, made public by the BBC News shocked the whole world. The motorist sent more than 20 text messages on a dark dual carriageway before she hit the back of a stationary car at 70 mph on the A40 near Wheatley in Oxfordshire. After hitting the parked vehicle, Curtis' car spun into oncoming traffic, hitting two more vehicles.
Due to the impact, the parked car's driver, Victoria McBryde from Northamptonshire, who stopped to deal with a burst tyre, was killed on the spot in November 2007 as she suffered a fatal brain injury. Curtis, however, managed to get away just with an arm injury.
Consequently, Philippa Curtis was accused of dangerous driving and convicted to prison for 21 months. In addition, the dangerous driver was also banned from driving for three years. To defend herself, Curtis admitted using her cell phone before the crash but denied using it at the time of the impact.
"I can't really describe in words how bad I actually feel," Curtis told the court. "I just feel awful that I was involved and I can't really imagine how the family must feel," she added.
Nevertheless, it seems that before the fatal crash, she made various calls sent text messages to a number of friends using predictive text. By sentencing Curtis to jail, Judge Julian Hall said using a mobile phone while driving was “madness”.
“I want to get across to people of your generation that driving is a skill which needs 100 per cent concentration and to use a mobile phone while driving is folly,” he explained.
Madness or not, a tragedy happened because of Curtis' negligence and to be honest, the sentence is far too mild for her crime.