Grandmother killed man in hit and run smash after taking painkillers
Grandmother, 66, banned from driving after killing another motorist in hit and run smash after taking three different powerful prescription painkillers for her arthritis
- Angela Worrall was taking opioid medications for arthritis before the crash
- Keith French suffered fatal injuries after he was forced to swerve and hit tree
A grandmother killed another motorist in a hit-and-run road smash after she was allowed to drive despite taking three different powerful prescription painkillers for her arthritis.
Angela Worrall, 66, caused an oncoming car to swerve and hit a tree as she tried to overtake a lorry – then drove on apparently oblivious to what happened behind her.
The driver of the other vehicle was Keith French, 59, a cable layer, who suffered fatal injuries in the impact and died at the scene.
The tragedy occurred as she was driving her red Citroen C3 on the A5117 near Ellesmere Port at 3pm on November 5, 2021, while on her way to collect her granddaughter from school.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, Worrall who was legitimately taking the opioid medications tramadol, dihydrocodeine and gabapentin for arthritis and fibromyalgia was chased down by another motorist but she ignored his pleas to pull over.
At Chester Crown Court, Worrall, who lives in the Elton area of the city, was sentenced to a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months – despite having faced up to five years jail in jail.
Grandmother Angela Worrall, 66, killed another motorist in a hit-and-run road smash after she was allowed to drive despite taking three different powerful prescription painkillers
The driver of the other vehicle was Keith French, 59, a cable layer, who suffered fatal injuries in the impact and died at the scene
When arrested later she was said to be unsteady on her feet, was unable spell her own name and could not keep a balance when walking in a straight line.
She claimed to know nothing of the tragedy but insisted she had never been advised not to drive.
A judge said her senses may have been affected by the medication but the court heard she was not charged with drug driving whilst impaired by reason of the medication.
Mr Dafydd Roberts, prosecuting, said: ‘Mr French was driving his Vauxhall Corsa motor having just left the M53. Mrs Worrall was driving her Citroen C3 in the direction of Cheshire Oaks and was on her way to collect her granddaughter from school.
‘She was one car in a line of four vehicles. In front was a Ford Transit van with a trailer. There was no suggestion of excessive speed by anyone. Mr French was driving at a perfectly safe speed in the opposite direction.
‘Mrs Worrall pulled out into the opposing lane. All drivers thought that she was trying to overtake the transit van. The driver immediately behind her she said pulled out suddenly and in a deliberate manoeuvre.
‘She drove halfway into the oncoming lane before swerving quickly back behind the Transit van to avoid the oncoming Mr French.
At Chester Crown Court, Worrall, who lives in the Elton area of the city, was sentenced to a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months
‘The drivers also saw Mr French take evasive action. He swerved to avoid a collision and lost control, driving onto the pavement and colliding with a tree. The driver of the Ford Transit said it was clearly obvious what happened and said the Citroen driver must have been able to see in the mirrors. However, Mrs Worrall did not stop after the collision, after what happened to Mr French’s vehicle.
The court heard the Transit driver followed Worrall up to a roundabout and pulled up alongside her while his passenger leant out and waved at her but she did not respond.
‘The driver of the Transit van took the note of her registration,’ Mr Roberts continued, ‘When he drove back to the scene he gave the registration to the police. Sadly, Mr French died from the catastrophic injuries sustained in the collision.
‘The defendant was located within the hour whilst she drove back on the same roundabout having picked up her granddaughter. When she was arrested she had difficulty spelling her surname.
‘When back in custody she was unsteady on her feet and she had to sit down.
‘An impairment test was carried out at the police station but she could not keep a balance when walking in a straight line. The medication did not help. he was asked to count out 30 seconds in her head, and she failed that impairment test.
‘She was taking tramadol, dihydrocodeine and gabapentin. She said she had been taking them for years. She is not to be sentenced for driving whilst impaired due to those drugs but that hopefully gives an overall impression of the circumstances. In an interview later that night, she said she swerved to avoid a dog that had run into the road.
‘She denied overtaking the Ford Transit, she denied knowing that Mr French had swerved off the road, and said she had not been aware of the driver of the Transit trying to get her attention on the roundabout.’
‘Much loved brother’ Mr French (pictured) was described as having driven at a ‘perfectly safe’ speed
In a statement Mr French’s brother Graham said: ‘Keith was a much loved brother, a great character. He looked after his mum but he is not there to care for her now. She has lost her son. She is struggling with that. She should not have had to come to terms with losing a child. He was a big character, a part of the family, much loved and very much missed.’
For Worrall, defence lawyer James Cooke said she has always had issues with balance, and that her reactions must be seen in the context of a woman who had never been in a police station before and being told she had caused a fatal accident.
‘She was understandably scared and there was an element of shock after being told what had happened,’ said Mr Cooke.
‘She makes a genuine and heartfelt apology. She knows she cannot say anything that can bring Mr French back. There are no words that she can utter that can bring any solace to his family but she does want through me to articulate the fact that she does feel all those things, shame, guilt and remorse, and offers an unreserved apology.
‘She is well thought of, somebody who played an important role in the upkeep of her children and latterly her grandchildren. This accident has had a dramatic impact on her personality, her health, her life. She has not resumed driving by choice. She has struggled to come to terms with what she has done and this is something that she’s going to have to live with for the rest of her life.’
Sentencing, Judge Steven Everett also banned Worrall from driving for two years and ordered her to complete 10 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service.
He told her: ‘This is a case where everybody has lost – it is a truly, truly, tragic case. No sentence I can pass can in any way compensate Keith French’s family, his brother and his family for the huge loss they have suffered.
‘I’m quite satisfied that stupidly you decided to pull out to see if you could overtake the van. You pulled out sharply, checked you could not overtake and pulled back in sharply.
The tragedy occurred as Worrall (pictured outside court) was driving her red Citroen C3 on the A5117 near Ellesmere Port at 3pm on November 5, 2021
‘The tragedy is that Mr French, who was driving perfectly properly in the opposite direction, must have seen that extremely quick manoeuvre and he took evasive action. Tragically, his car went off the road and hit a tree.
‘I recognise that the medication you took is what you have been prescribed and nobody has told you not to drive, but it seems to me that your senses were not as clear as they should have been and you have been taking that medication for your very significant medical issues.
‘You should have been aware of that. What you should not have done was decide to suddenly manoeuvre as you did. The evidence points that you had no idea of the devastation you caused. If you had you would not have driven back in the way you did.
‘Nevertheless, the van driver was trying his best to get your attention. It was all part and parcel of a poor piece of driving on that day. Medical evidence is something I must take into account.
‘Whatever punishment this court passes, nobody will punish you more than you have punished yourself. You will have to live for the rest of your days knowing that you have caused the death of someone and you alone have caused that death.’
Source: Read Full Article