Christopher Andrew Hall crashed into a Ford Puma driven by a soldier in front of him and crashed while driving a Ford Fiesta south on the A1(M) through North Yorkshire at night, York Crown Court heard.
Christopher Rose, prosecuting, said Hall’s car was parked at an angle in the inside lane of the motorway. Although the hazard warning lights were switched on, oncoming traffic could only see a faint indicator light in the exterior mirror due to the positioning of the vehicle.
Minutes later, Christine MacKay, 71, died when a Land Rover driven by her husband of almost 50 years at 70mph crashed with “catastrophic” damage as it tried to avoid the Fiesta that suddenly appeared in its headlights was, said Mr. Rose. They were on their way to their home in Leeds after a Scottish holiday.
The soldier came to their aid and helped the seriously injured Mr. MacKay out of the rubble. But he was unable to save Ms MacKay, who suffered severe head injuries and had no pulse.
Hall had been driving from Harrogate to Newcastle after drinking that evening and was on his way back to Harrogate when he crashed into the Puma south of the A684/A1(M) junction at Leeming Bar. He was over the alcohol limit and ignored warnings about driving after drinking, Mr Rose said.
In a personal statement, Ms MacKay’s husband Andrew said the incident had completely changed his life.
“I lost my friend and life partner,” he said. “I don’t understand why the driver (Hall) got in the car and drove knowing he had been drinking alcohol.
“This is something I would never do. His actions affected my wife and I will never get over it.”
Mr. MacKay is still in pain from his injuries almost two years after the accident at approximately 2:30 a.m. on October 18, 2021.
Hall, 24, of Hurstleigh Terrace, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol.
He received a prison sentence of two years and four months, a driving ban for five years and two months and an order to take an extended driving test before driving alone again.
Judge Simon Hickey gave the driver of the Ford Puma a £250 reward for “going above and beyond the call of public duty” in helping the MacKays.
In a letter to the judge, Hall wrote: “I cannot express how sorry I am” about Ms. MacKay’s death and the impact on her family.
Defense lawyer Phil Morris said Hall accepted he had “nodded off”.
He was “disinhibited” by alcohol and only drove from Harrogate to Newcastle because he received a message from a friend.
“His planned career path is now in tatters,” Mr Morris said. Hall wanted to become a lawyer and work in social services.
Hall had not driven since the accident, Mr Morris said.
https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/23797512.christopher-hall-jailed-death-christine-mackay/?ref=rss Christopher Hall jailed for death of Christine MacKay