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Jail for hit-and-run drunk driver who crashed into three cyclists, causing serious injuries

Sandra Graham was driving home with her daughter when she hit the members of Northumbria Cycling Club

A hit-and-run drunk driver who crashed into three cyclists, two of whom needed surgery for their injuries, has been jailed for 25 months.

Sandra Graham had gone for a drink after she and a friend took their respective daughters ice-skating to mark the start of the school summer holidays in July 2019, reports Metro.

The 48 year old, who works as a school laboratory technician, was returning home with her daughter when she hit the three members of the Northumbria Cycling Club on North Tyneside’s A193 Links Road.

She then fled the scene and drove home, but another motorist who had witnessed the crash drove after her and took a picture of her car. Her husband then drove her back to where the crash happened.

Graham, from Blyth, failed a first breath test but when tested again at the police station, was found to be right on the legal limit.

However, she was estimated to have been one and a half times over the limit at the time of the crash.

One of the cyclists, David Tickner, was left with a fractured pelvic bone and hip socket and was hospitalised for two weeks.

Another, Terry Slater, sustained fractured ribs and also needed surgery to repair torn ligaments in his shoulder and neck.

The third, Craig Scope, needed specialist treatment after losing movement in his arm and shoulder.

Graham pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and to driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop.

In mitigation, Christopher Knox told the court that Graham was not a “hardened drinker” and that she had probably drunk “more alcohol than she realised” on the afternoon of the crash.

“Her car wasn’t even scratched,” he continued. “It was the wing mirror which collided with the cyclists and caused the serious accident and unfortunately caused the terrible, serious injuries to them, for which she is mortified.

“She has learned a savage lesson,” he added.

Sentencing Graham, Judge Edward Bindloss told her: “At the start of the summer holidays on July 12, 2019 you and a friend took your respective daughters skating in the Whitley Bay area.

“Afterwards you went to the Fox pub at about 4.30pm and there, before leaving at 6pm, you drank alcohol, your recollection is cider and wine. You had nothing to eat while you were drinking it.

“Visibility was good, road conditions were good but you were intoxicated and your driving before, during and after the collision was dangerous.

“You drove your car into and collided with all three of them.

“Afterwards, in panic and no doubt with judgement affected by drink and in my judgement to avoid detection you drove away at speed, including through a red light and on the wrong side of the road.”

Besides handing down the custodial sentence, the judge also banned Graham for driving for four years.  

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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52 comments

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Rubble | 3 years ago
0 likes

>> on the limit down at the station.
i don't think she was used to alcohol, or else maybe the alcohol reacted badly with some other medication. all a long time ago now, but when i failed a breath test ( pulled over due to faulty indicator ) i blew just under twice the limit on the second test down at the station. i had been drinking steadily all day. during the ride back to the station, i quizzed the officers what sort of alcohol levels other drivers they pulled over had. they said they regularly pulled over folk blowing 4x and 6x over the limit. i wonder if she had not driven off then she may have ( narrowly ) avoided a sentence.

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Hirsute replied to Rubble | 3 years ago
1 like

Then the police would have been there sooner so the reading would have been higher. Not sure where you are going with this one.

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Daveyraveygravey | 3 years ago
5 likes

"Her car wasn't even scratched."  Just let that sink in for a while...

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ChrisB200SX replied to Daveyraveygravey | 3 years ago
3 likes

I can't fathom why that was mentioned in mitigation. It really has no bearing on anything other than her own costs of repair, which itself is irrelevant to this case.
Had she been sober and not done a runner, one wonders whether she'd have been found not guilty or perhaps received an incredibly lenient sentence.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to ChrisB200SX | 3 years ago
3 likes

I expect the mitigation was to state she barely caught them rather then ramming them all onto her bonnet. I wonder if the same defence lawyer states how the murderer didn't get any blood on his own clothes or the rapist was nice enough to use a condom when arguing in mitigation for those crimes as well?

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Seagull2 | 3 years ago
6 likes

this was not an unfortunate incident. She went drinking, then she went driving. The entire responsibility for her actions and the outcomes rest squarely on her shoulders. Hardened drinker or not, she made a serious error , and in my view the sentence is not severe enough. Mitigating factors my arse. She went drinking. She drove a dangerous piece of machinery on public roads. She caused severe damage and could eaisly have killed someone. Justice system isn't hard or tough enough. It's all very well to be sorry after the event. 

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Captain Badger replied to Seagull2 | 3 years ago
7 likes
Seagull2 wrote:

this was not an unfortunate incident. She went drinking, then she went driving. The entire responsibility for her actions and the outcomes rest squarely on her shoulders. Hardened drinker or not, she made a serious error , and in my view the sentence is not severe enough. Mitigating factors my arse. She went drinking. She drove a dangerous piece of machinery on public roads. She caused severe damage and could eaisly have killed someone. Justice system isn't hard or tough enough. It's all very well to be sorry after the event. 

I agree with pretty much everything that said but for one thing. The use of the word error.

This was no error, it was a fully conscious decision made in spite of being in possession of all relevant facts. She put her desire for alcohol above the safety of those sharing the road, and indeed her own daughter. She followed this up by fleeing the scene, leaving three innocent members of the public for dead. 

In terms of the behaviour that inevitably lead to the collison, this was deliberate, premeditated, and criminally negligent.

In terms of her following behaviour,  had any of the victims paid the ultimate price this would be clearly manslaughter, and in my opinion (I stress the word) there would have been a fag paper between that and cold-blooded murder.

 

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brooksby replied to Captain Badger | 3 years ago
3 likes
Captain Badger wrote:

I agree with pretty much everything that said but for one thing. The use of the word error.

This was no error, it was a fully conscious decision made in spite of being in possession of all relevant facts. She put her desire for alcohol above the safety of those sharing the road, and indeed her own daughter. She followed this up by fleeing the scene, leaving three innocent members of the public for dead. 

"Error of judgement", perhaps?  After all, we know what excellent judges of consequence and probability people are after a few pints...

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Captain Badger replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
6 likes
brooksby wrote:

...

"Error of judgement", perhaps?  After all, we know what excellent judges of consequence and probability people are after a few pints...

You are far too charitable. She knew that drinking would impair her judgement - she was sober when she ordered her first drink, when she knew she was going to drive. Being under the influence is not a mitigating factor in drink driving.

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brooksby replied to Captain Badger | 3 years ago
3 likes

Sorry, I may not have been clear what I was saying.  Was in no way defending her.

Seagull said she made an error, you said it was no error, and I was just trying to use correct language that you could refer to it as an error of judgement.

I'll get my coat... 

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Captain Badger replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Sorry, I may not have been clear what I was saying.  Was in no way defending her.

Seagull said she made an error, you said it was no error, and I was just trying to use correct language that you could refer to it as an error of judgement.

I'll get my coat... 

LOL, dude don't worry I know! 

I'm not feeling particularly inclined to be generous on this one. I  in no way intended to imply that you were trying to defend.

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brooksby | 3 years ago
10 likes

So "don't drive home with your kids in the car after a couple of hours drinking in the pub with your friends, when you're supposedly not a hardened drinker" was a lesson she had to learn (taking the practical, no less!) rather than it being simple common sense? Alrighty then...

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wtjs | 3 years ago
5 likes

Sentence seems OK, but the ban isn't long enough. However I take the point below about her insurance- has there been much of a charge on her insurance for this incident? Will they have to pay compensation for the injuries?

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ChrisB200SX replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
1 like
wtjs wrote:

Sentence seems OK, but the ban isn't long enough. However I take the point below about her insurance- has there been much of a charge on her insurance for this incident? Will they have to pay compensation for the injuries?

Not sure. If she's drunk driving does insurance still apply as she's broken the contract?
If a compensation claim is made she'll only be able to quibble about the value. She can't really fight the claim, conviction is a slam-dunk for liability.

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Rendel Harris replied to ChrisB200SX | 3 years ago
4 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:

Not sure. If she's drunk driving does insurance still apply as she's broken the contract?

Under the Road Traffic Act insurers still have to pay any legitimate compensation claims of third parties resulting from drink driving by the insured, though unlike a normal accident claim the insurer does then have the right to claim the amounts paid back from the offender.

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ktache replied to Rendel Harris | 3 years ago
0 likes

Cheers for that info.

Does it apply to all claims resulting for driving offences?

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Rendel Harris replied to ktache | 3 years ago
1 like
ktache wrote:

Cheers for that info.

Does it apply to all claims resulting for driving offences?

I'm afraid I'm not sure, I know they won't pay out for claims by the insured driver for personal injury or vehicle damage if they can show they were speeding, careless or negligent.

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ktache | 3 years ago
5 likes

Until the sentencing she had not learned as much of a savage lesson.

And from the Metro article-"Mr Knox said Graham is not a danger to the public"

Well for those poor, unfortunate cyclists, who by definition are members of the public, she was very much a danger.

At least she pleaded guilty, though no mention of "Remorse"

Or do you have to actually have to kill the innocent cyclist to really need to express (feel deeply) that one?

 

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OldRidgeback | 3 years ago
9 likes

I really hope she thinks about what she's done. More importantly, I hope the victims are all able to recover fully.

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EK Spinner | 3 years ago
7 likes

Oncce gain someone who will be given back thier driving licence and allowed out on the roads to potentially kill. When will this country start to treat driving as a privelege and not a basic right

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CStar replied to EK Spinner | 3 years ago
2 likes

Except that she'll never get insurance again, so is unlikely to be back on the road. Well not legally at least...

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Crazyhorse replied to CStar | 3 years ago
1 like

How so? Insurers are more than happy to offer their wares to convicted drink/drug drivers - a quick Google search will show this. It will be (probably a lot) more expensive though... 

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Captain Badger | 3 years ago
2 likes

Good

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Karbon Kev | 3 years ago
0 likes

Should be 25 years, not months. Absolutely disgusting.

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Hirsute | 3 years ago
4 likes

Just how wide was this wing mirror ?

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swldxer replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

Just how wide was this wing mirror ?

It would have been a DOOR mirror - "wing" mirrors went out decades ago.

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Captain Badger replied to swldxer | 3 years ago
1 like
swldxer wrote:

"wing" mirrors went out decades ago.

So no modern vehicles have wing mirrors?

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swldxer replied to Captain Badger | 3 years ago
0 likes

I have never seen one this century. I think my first car, an Austin 1300, had wing mirrors in 1969, but my 1974 Austin Allegro had door mirrors as have every car I've owned since then. The last car I bought in Sep 2019, even had "road fund licence" on the dealer's sales sheet, so there are a lot of archaic terms still used.

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HoarseMann replied to swldxer | 3 years ago
3 likes
swldxer wrote:

I have never seen one this century.

This will cheer you up then...

https://www.supervettura.com/Car-Details/2020-Pagani-Huayra-Roadster/126

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swldxer replied to HoarseMann | 3 years ago
1 like

Seen at your local Tesco!

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