Drug driver jailed for killing 74 year old in head-on collision

Russell Vines. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Russell Vines. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A drug-driver, who lived in Backwell with his father, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years after killing a pensioner in a crash.

Russell Vines pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs, and driving while uninsured.

Robin Shellard, prosecuting, said Vines was going 'too fast', was 'too inexperienced', and was driving a car that was 'too powerful'.

Bristol Crown Court was told the mechanic had decided to test an uninsured two-litre Honda Prelude he had not driven before on the B3134, near his then home in Burrington Combe on February 11 last year.

As the then 19-year-old sped around a left-hand bend, Vines, who had only passed his driving test two weeks previously, lost control of the sports saloon and careered into the path of a Hyundai driven by 74-year-old Winstone Cotterell.

Vines accepted smoking cannabis the night before, but said he felt perfectly well when he drove.

Mr Cotterell's wife, Janet sustained injuries to her ribs, sternum, legs and knees, while Mr Cotterell, who was trapped in his car for several hours, died of internal injuries hours later in Southmead Hospital.

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Janet Cotterell said in an impact statement read by the prosecution the crash has 'changed her life forever'.

She spoke of how she had lost her confidence to leave her home, had received injuries which constantly caused her pain, and could no longer sleep because of recurring nightmares about the crash.

The couple's daughter, Julie, said her father was both 'loving and annoying in equal measure'.

She explained the loss her mother felt at losing her husband of 52 years, 'her beloved Wince'.

She said: "Her life was changed forever on that day, when her husband, her best friend, and her life line was taken forever."

Charles Row, defending, said there was no doubt Vines' remorse was genuine.

He said: "He accepts he was entirely at fault."

Vines was disqualified from driving for four years and nine months and will be required to take an extended test upon the ban's expiry.

Judge William Hart told a tearful Vines: "On February 11, a great tragedy occurred in the life of the Cotterell family, and for you."