South Yorkshire motorist jailed over text crash

The van driven by Susan Noble after the fatal crash on the A19 in December 2011.
The van driven by Susan Noble after the fatal crash on the A19 in December 2011.
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A SOUTH YORKSHIRE woman is behind bars after her texting while driving led to a fatal road crash.

Susan Noble, a delivery driver for Network Rail, had sent two texts and read three others in the half-hour before the collision on the A19 in North Yorkshire.

Road safety experts today welcomed the three-year jail sentence Noble was handed as a deterrent that should ‘send a clear message to drivers that using mobile phones while driving can and does lead to horrific consequences’.

Noble, aged 29, of Reeves Way, Armthorpe, Doncaster, admitted causing death by dangerous driving when she appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

Alexandru Braninski, 25, a Romanian national, died in the collision on the A19 near Northallerton at 9.10pm on Tuesday, December 27, 2011.

Mr Braninski was pronounced dead at the scene after he was struck by Noble’s vehicle as he stood behind a Skoda Octavia having a wheel changed at the side of the road.

Noble’s Ford Fiesta van collided with him and pushed the Octavia into a field at the side of the road.

Police investigators checked phone records and found Noble was using a mobile phone to exchange text messages with a friend, sending two texts and reading three others in the 30 minutes before the crash.

Although it was dark at the time, she should have been able to see the victim’s car for 14 seconds before the impact.

Rod Hunt, for Noble, said: “She has made a terrible mistake. She feels a tremendous sense of responsibility and grief towards the young man and his family.”

Noble was also disqualified from driving for six years.

Sergeant John Lumbard, of North Yorkshire Police’s roads policing group, said: “Noble has fully accepted she is responsible for the tragic death of Mr Braninski due to a serious error of judgement.

“I want this tragedy to send a clear message to drivers that using mobile phones while driving can and does lead to horrific consequences.

“Research from around the world has shown time and time again that this behaviour does cause drivers to lose concentration on the road ahead.

“Ideally you should turn phones off while you are driving so you are not distracted by an unexpected call. However, If you must use a phone while on the move, it is essential you use a hands-free kit.”