Driver suf­fered epilep­tic fit at wheel in fa­tal crash

Five years in prison for caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

A WOMAN who was found guilty of caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing af­ter she sped across a round­about and smashed into three cars, in West Dray­ton, has been jailed for five years.

Sonya Pannu, 32, of North Park, Iver, Buck­ing­hamshire, was handed the sen­tence af­ter be­ing con­victed of caus­ing the death of 30-year-old Hayes woman, Irene ValverdeMartinez.

She was also given a sen­tence of three years, to run con­cur­rently, af­ter be­ing found guilty of caus­ing se­ri­ous in­jury to a se­cond vic­tim, a 30-year-old man by dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

At Hove Crown Court on Thurs­day, Pannu was also dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for four years, and will have to take an ex­tended retest, mean­ing she will have to sit her driv­ing test again be­fore be­ing al­lowed to go back on the roads.

A jury re­turned the guilty ver­dict on Wed­nes­day March 16 fol­low­ing a trial, af­ter pre­vi­ously plead­ing not guilty as charged.

Sergeant Jane Mal­lett, from the Met’s Road Death In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit, said: “Pannu’s ac­tions that day dev­as­tated Irene’s fam­ily – her hus­band has been left with­out his wife and their friend suf­fered very se­ri­ous in­juries from which he is still re­cov­er­ing.

“Pannu suf­fered an epilep­tic fit at the wheel hav­ing been told by a neu­ro­log­i­cal con­sul­tant not to drive just one week be­fore the col­li­sion, set­ting in mo­tion a chain of events that had tragic con­se­quences.

“It is only right she has been forced to face up to her ac­tions in court.”

The court heard how at 4pm on April 10, 2014, Pannu was driv­ing her Land Rover Dis­cov­ery along Sip­son Lane to­wards Sip­son Road, West Dray­ton.

She had fin­ished work in Houn­slow as di­rec­tor of a chil­dren’s nurs­ery and was driv­ing home to Iver.

As she ap­proached the round­about she ac­cel­er­ated and crossed onto the wrong side of the road.

At the time, Irene and her hus­band were trav­el­ling home to Hayes in their Vaux­hall Astra. Irene was in the pas­sen­ger seat and a male friend, aged 30, was in the back.

As they turned left into Sip­son Lane, Pannu hit the front pas­sen­ger side of the Astra, which spun back across Sip­son Road and into a brick wall.

Pannu, a mother of five, con­tin­ued straight across the round­about and col­lided with a Volk­swa­gen Golf, caus­ing it to spin round and hit a gar­den wall in Sip­son Road.

The Land Rover con­tin­ued straight into the drive of a prop­erty in Sip­son Road, hit­ting a sta­tion­ary Ford Tran­sit and push­ing it for­ward into the closed garage doors.

The Land Rover also hit rail­ings and trees be­fore com­ing to a halt.

Irene was treated at the scene be­fore be­ing taken to St Mary’s Hos­pi­tal where she died that night from mul­ti­ple in­juries.

Her friend who was in the back of the car suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries to his lungs, bowel and spleen.

He was at St Mary’s Hos­pi­tal for many weeks and is now re­cov­er­ing slowly fol­low­ing surgery.

n JAILED: Sonya Pannu has been sen­tenced for caus­ing the death of Irene Valverde-Martinez

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