Woman jailed for Cambridgeshire drink-drive death crash

Sarah Hand Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Sarah Hand had alcohol, cocaine and cannabis in her system when she crashed head on into oncoming traffic

A "cavalier and reckless" motorist twice the drink-drive limit crossed a dual carriageway and killed a woman who was on her way home for Christmas.

Sarah Hand, who also had cocaine and cannabis in her system, overcorrected an error and hit two cars on the A1307 in Cambridgeshire on 22 December.

Gail Brown, 56, was killed in the head-on crash, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Hand, 50, of Aragon Road, Haverhill, admitted causing death by careless driving and was jailed for eight years.

Sentencing, Judge Stuart Bridge said: "The collision occurred because she lost control of her car quite simply because she was incapable of driving it because of the quantity of alcohol in her body."

Image caption The crash happened between Linton and Haverhill on the A1307 in Cambridgeshire

The court heard Hand was driving her Ford Fiesta towards Linton when she veered on to a grass verge on her side of the road.

She then steered back to correct herself but lost control, crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting Ms Brown's Nissan Micra and another motorist, David Percy, who suffered minor injuries.

Hand told a motorist who had stopped at the scene "I'm not going to lie, I've been drinking" and put her head in her hands and said "what have I done?".

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Gail Brown was on her way home from work for Christmas when her car was hit by Sarah Hand's

In her police interview Hand claimed she only had the equivalent of two shots of both vodka and gin, but was found to have 162mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, more than twice the legal limit, after drinking that morning.

She also had 10 times the limit of a breakdown of cocaine and was over the legal cannabis limit.

Judge Bridge said Hand had an "utterly cavalier and reckless approach to driving that day" and told her "you were an accident waiting to happen".

Image caption The judge said the A1307 was "well-known as a high casualty route"

In mitigation, John Dye said mother-of-one Hand, who was on crutches in the dock after breaking her pelvis in the crash, had a history of alcoholism and suffered from complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

He added: "She accepts and knows full well the misery she caused will not go away."

Hand, who cried throughout the hearing, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while being over the prescribed limit for alcohol and specified limit for benzoylecgonine, a breakdown of cocaine, and cannabis.

The judge said she would serve half her sentence in jail and banned her from driving for 14 years.

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