Dropped Cigarette Caused Death by Dangerous Driving

A man's given community service for causing death by dangerous driving after dropping a cigarette

The court heard how Daniel Wellard of Augustine Road, Sheerness was driving on the A26 at Wateringbury on 22nd October 2009 on his way to work, when he dropped the cigarette he’d been smoking. Distracted, his Mondeo swerved into the lane of oncoming traffic and he collided head on with a car being driven by mother of three, 48 year old Deborah Lawson from Gravesend who sadly died at the scene.

Wellard had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at a previous hearing on 2nd July.

In court, a letter of heartfelt apology was read by the defence solicitor to the family of the deceased on behalf of Wellard, acknowledging that his careless actions had resulted in the death of an innocent woman.

PC Warren Jarvis, who acted as the family liaison, says that sadly cases like these are all too common: “It just takes a momentary lapse of concentration while driving and the consequences can be severe. In this case, a dropped cigarette was the cause, which is why we stop and advise motorists who have been eating, drinking, listening to loud music, as it impairs driving ability.

In this case, the result was the death of an innocent woman. Two families lives have been devastated by this collision – Mrs Lawson’s and also the defendant, Mr Wellard, who now has to live with the consequences of his actions. I would ask others to bear this case in mind while driving and to remain vigilant while on the road, as not doing so could mean your life or someone else’s.”