Stepdad Sentenced For Death Of Joseph Smith
12 April 2017, 15:26
A "boy racer'' has been jailed for six years for killing his five-year-old stepson and seriously injuring four others in a head-on crash.
Dean Collins, 23, had taken cocaine and was seen holding his mobile phone to his ear before the collision in Llandaff, Cardiff, on September 13 2015.
The father, who had passed his driving test just three months earlier, drifted into the opposite carriageway and smashed into another car.
His stepson, Joseph Smith, was not sat in a child booster seat as required by law, and died at the scene from neck injuries.
Four others sustained injuries ranging from fractures to the spine, arms, legs and ribs, memory loss and blindness in one eye.
Collins, of Coleford Drive, St Mellons, Cardiff, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and four counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Judge Eleri Rees, the Recorder of Cardiff, jailed Collins for six years and disqualified him from driving for eight years.
"You told the jury you had no memory of the collision,'' she told Collins.
"You have never acknowledged any fault despite overwhelming evidence that the collision was entirely your fault"
The obvious inference is that you somehow allowed yourself to be distracted from concentrating on the road ahead.
"I accept there is no evidence that you made any call on your mobile phone on that journey, although you had clearly thought about it when stationary at one set of traffic lights."
"The general manner of driving that morning showed a disregard for road safety. You had only taken the driving test three months before and immaturity and inexperience may have had some role to play.''
The judge said Collins had "displayed arrogance'' with his "aggressive'' driving prior to the collision.
Witnesses described Collins undertaking, weaving in and out of the lanes, rocking his car while waiting at traffic lights and driving off quickly from them.
They called Collins a "boy racer, idiot," the judge added. " The picture that emerged was one of an impatient driver in a hurry,'' she said.
Investigating officer PC Tony Farr, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said,
“This collision has had a devastating impact on so many lives. Collins’ selfish actions cost Joseph Smith – a young boy with his whole life ahead of him – his life, shattering the worlds of all those who knew and loved him.The collision also left four others injured, some catastrophically."
“I cannot stress enough how dangerous vehicles can be when they are in the hands of the wrong people. Collins was inexperienced and evidence presented to the court showed he had taken drugs in the days or hours before the collision. Tragically, that proved to be a lethal combination."
“Collins also failed to ensure Joseph was seated securely in the vehicle – again a huge error in judgement that he will now have to live with for the rest of his life."
“It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure all passengers in their vehicle are wearing seat belts and that children are secured in to adequate child or booster seats that meet the legal standards."
“Children must use a car or booster seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. As the case has so tragically shown, choosing not to comply with the law can, and all too often does, have devastating consequences.”