TWO ‘arrogant’ drivers who raced one another along a busy dual carriageway have been sent to jail for causing the death of a Sheffield teaching assistant in a horrific car smash.
June Bryce-Stephen, aged 56, was killed when her Nissan Micra was hit by 23-year-old Adam Cox’s silver Honda Civic last March.
Cox had been racing against an orange Ford Focus driven by Simon Chevens, 42, of Wood Close, Chapeltown, seconds before the collision on Halifax Road, Wadsley Bridge.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the two men had been speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and following each other bumper to bumper - and after witnessing the carnage of the crash Chevens fled the scene.
He had only passed his driving test 10 days before the collision.
Miss Bryce-Stephen, a support teacher at Hinde House school, was killed as she drove across Halifax Road from Lyminster Road to turn right onto the opposite carriageway.
Judge Michael Murphy QC jailed Chevens for seven years, while Cox will serve five years in prison. They were each banned from driving for a decade and must take an extended retest afterwards.
The two men did not acknowledge one another in the dock.
Sentencing them both, Judge Murphy said: “June Bryce-Stephen was driving her car in a perfectly normal manner at approximately five miles an hour as she crossed Halifax Road.
“It was her huge misfortune to be undertaking that manoeuvre as you two men were racing along the road.
“Whether you were trying to establish which of your motor cars was the more powerful, or you had been aggravated by the driving of the other man’s car, doesn’t matter to me.
“The arrogance of you two men is astonishing. You thought nothing of other road users.”
After the hearing June’s daughter Joanne Capille, 39, said: “The actions of these two selfish and inconsiderate people have had devastating and heartbreaking consequences for myself and my family.
“When people drive in this way, they need to stop and think about the grief and horror they could be inflicting on innocent families.
“My mum was in the wrong place at the wrong time, literally by seconds, but it could easily have been anyone else’s mum, dad or child.”
Joanne said her 11-year-old daughter, Isabelle, has been so distressed by her grandmother’s death that she has been receiving counselling for over a year.
“My mum lived with us, and they had an extremely close relationship,” Joanne added.
Judge Murphy said passers-by “stepped back in fear” and other motorists “winced” as Chevens and Cox whizzed by at between 60 and 70mph before the crash.
The speed limit in the area is 40mph.
Andrew Hatton, prosecuting, said: “It’s entirely likely that the Civic was in view of Miss Bryce-Stephen when she set out to cross the carriageway.
“At 40mph he would have avoided any collision, but at 60mph it would be impossible. It’s a greatly excessive speed.”
Anthony Sugare, defending Cox, said the electrician had “never sought to blame anyone else” for the crash.
Cox, of Oldfield Road, Stannington, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, but Chevens had pleaded not guilty and was convicted by jurors of the same charge following a trial.
“He accepts the consequences of his own actions, clearly unlike his co-accused,” Mr Sugare said. “This was a few moments of madness.”
Richard Barradale, defending Chevens, said he was a “family man” with a wife and daughter, and that he was “decent and hard-working”.
Chevens’ criminal record included dishonesty and supplying drugs, while Cox had no previous convictions.