Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Crash victim family in mobiles plea

Undated handout photo issued by Cambridgeshire Constabulary of 31-year-old Marina Usaceva who has been jailed for six years at Peterborough Crown Court after she crashed her Jaguar X-Type into the back of a Peugeot 206 killing the driver Sukhdeep Singh Johal near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on March 15 last year, examinations of her phone later found that she had sent and received texts and calls on two separate phones shortly before the crash. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 31, 2014. See PA story COURTS Mobile . Photo credit should read: Cambridgeshire Constabulary/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

The family of a man killed by a "remorseless" driver who was using two mobile phones at the wheel have pleaded with others not to repeat her stupidity.

Mother-of-one Marina Usaceva was driving a green Jaguar X-Type when she crashed into the back of a Peugeot 206, killing its driver.

The 31-year-old, originally from Latvia, told police at the scene she had not been using a phone.

But examinations later found she had sent and received texts and calls on two separate mobiles shortly before the crash.

Sukhdeep Singh Johal, 27, of Welford Road, Leicester, who had recently graduated in biomedical science at De Montfort University, died at the scene

Speaking after she was jailed for six years at Peterborough Crown Court, Sukhdeep's father Buhupinder Johal said no sentence would be enough to console the family.

He added: "Even 60 years wouldn't be enough, but this is some kind of justice.

"The only thing we can hope is that others will learn from this.

"People think nothing of it, but using a mobile phone while driving can kill."

Inspector Bob Turner, who oversaw the investigation for Cambridgeshire Police, said Usaceva had behaved "incredibly foolishly".

He added: "I have never seen anything like it before - it was crass stupidity."

The crash happened on the A47 near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, at about 4.30pm on March 15 last year.

Prosecutor Georgina Gibbs said that the case was aggravated by the fact Usaceva was using "not one but two phones", meaning a jail term was necessary.

Usaceva, of Padholme Road, Peterborough, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at an earlier hearing.

She had previously been caught twice using her phone behind the wheel and her licence was endorsed in 2009 and 2012, the court heard.

A police examination found Usaceva had used a Sony phone to send a text message at 4.15pm and receive a message at 4.17pm on the day of the incident.

A Samsung phone sent one message, made one phone call and received three incoming calls in the 20 minutes leading up to the crash.

She added the Jaguar was travelling at at least 70mph in a 60mph zone but witnesses said it was travelling significantly faster because it braked sharply for a speed camera, hitting Mr Johal and causing a three-vehicle pile-up.

Usaceva wept in the dock as Judge Sean Enright jailed her for six years and disqualified her from driving for eight years.

The judge said: "If you were not sending texts at the time, then you were fiddling with your phone and that is what caused this collision.

"In my opinion there is not a scrap of remorse.

"Mobile phone use while driving is a plague on our society."

Ian Brownhill, mitigating, said: "There is a gap of six minutes - I would say clear water - between using the phones and the accident itself."

He added that Usaceva was the sole carer of her eight-year-old son, whose father lives in Latvia, and called for the judge to consider his welfare in passing sentence.

After the case, Mr Johal described how when his son was one-year-old he was rescued from a house fire after his uncle wrapped him in a turban and threw him from a window.

"We tell ourselves that this was a miracle and we had 26 years with him that we might not have had," he added.

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