Man Jailed For Fatal Crash On A34

Jail for a man who caused a fatal crash while on his phone behind the wheel on the A34 in Berkshire.

An Oxford man has been sentenced to a total of three years and eight months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving, following a collision on the A34 last year in which another motorist died.

Lewis Stratford, aged 24, of Field Avenue, Oxford, appeared at Reading Crown Court. He previously appeared at the same court on 24 January where he pleaded guilty to the offences.

The collision took place shortly before 10pm on 11 June 2016, when Stratford’s Vauxhall Corsa collided into the central reservation on the A34, East Ilsley. His vehicle then crossed onto the opposite carriageway and collided head-on with a BMW.

The driver of the BMW, 28-year-old Gavin Roberts, sustained life-threatening injuries and sadly died in hospital four days after the incident.

Lewis Stratford was voluntarily interviewed on 7 July 2016 and was postal summonsed on 17 November 2016. He admitted that he had been using his mobile prior to and at the time of the collision, to make a series of emotional phone calls.

Following today’s sentencing, senior investigating officer Sgt Beth Walton, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This case tragically evidences that distractions whilst driving do have and will continue to have catastrophic consequences, unless there is a change in some driver’s attitudes.  A combination of speed, mobile phone distraction and emotions in this case led to the collision and loss of Gavin Roberts’ life, a young man with everything to live for. His family and friends lives shattered by his loss.

“This collision was preventable and would never had happened if Lewis Stratford had made different choices that night.  His life has been affected, his life changed forever and the impact of his prison sentence and driving disqualification will continue to affect his life following his release.

“I hope the sentence today, and a change in law to increase penalties which came into place this week, will further highlight how seriously these offences will be taken and should encourage motorists to think twice before speeding and picking up the phone.

“Whilst today’s sentencing will never bring Gavin back, I hope it will allow his family and friends to have a sense of closure and enable them to continue through their grief at this difficult time.

“I would ask people to think, think about the consequences I’ve mentioned, if you speed, if you use your mobile phone whilst driving then stop doing it and encourage those that you know who also do it, to stop.”

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This case involved a terrible incident, which led to the untimely death of 28-year-old Gavin Roberts on the A34 last June.

“Following the incident, mobile phone evidence determined that Stratford had been engaged on a phone call on his mobile phone immediately before, during and after the collision. This is a tragic waste of Gavin’s life, caused by inattention and distraction, and could have been avoided.

“Stratford answered ‘no comment’ in his police interview, but on Tuesday, 24 January 2017, at Reading Crown Court, due to the strength of evidence against him, and recognising that justice had caught up with him, he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

“This case highlights the serious consequences of failing to be alert when driving. Holding a driving licence brings with it a high degree of responsibility that should always be at the forefront of every driver’s mind. Mobile phones must not be used by drivers, under any circumstances, as they are a lethal distraction, which, as this case demonstrates, leads to untold misery.

“I hope that the conviction and today’s sentence will in some way help the family and friends of Mr Roberts to come to terms with this tragic event. My thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”

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