Death crash driver Katie Foster jailed after ‘using mobile phone’

  • 11 January 2018

Lee CainImage copyright Durham Police
Image caption Lee Cain’s car overturned after being hit in the crash

A driver who had been using her phone seconds before crashing into a car killing a man about to donate a kidney to his brother, has been jailed.

Katie Foster was at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo which hit 36-year-old Lee Cain’s Peugeot 206 near West Auckland, County Durham, in March 2016.

She had earlier pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

At Durham Crown Court the 20-year-old was sentenced to seven months in a young offenders institution.

Foster, of Carisbrooke Crescent, Bishop Auckland, who was 18 at the time, sent a text message 25 seconds before the fatal collision, and received one nine seconds before on her phone which was under her leg.

Mr Cain, of West Cornforth, County Durham, who was described in court as a “loving, funny and generous man”, died from injuries he sustained when his car overturned several times after being struck.

Foster had previously denied a charge of causing Mr Cain’s death by dangerous driving. Instead the Crown accepted a plea of guilty to causing death by careless driving.

She told the court she accepted driving too close to vehicles in front of her, braking late and swerving into the opposite carriageway, colliding with Mr Cain’s oncoming Peugeot.

She suffered injuries to her back and neck, but her three passengers were unhurt.

Image caption The crash happened on the A688 bypass near West Auckland in County Durham

A family friend read out a statement from Mr Cain’s mother Gail, in which she said the night of her son’s death was the worst in her life.

She added he had wanted to donate a kidney needed by his brother, Bradley, but his untimely death prevented it.

That meant their father, Brian, at the age of 70, had to step in for the transplant.

Foster was also disqualified for more than 15 months and must pass an extended test.

Outside the court, acting Sgt Mark Shepherd of Durham Police said: “A young girl has had her liberty taken away. But we have to remember that she took someone’s life.

“It could not be proved that she was on her phone at the time of the collision, but we do know that she was using it and generally distracted.”

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