Couple’s Car Was Hit By Driver Who Was Travelling Too Fast
A wife is backing a major road safety campaign after she was seriously hurt and her husband killed in a crash caused by a speeding driver.
Janet Cotterell, of St George, Bristol, suffered a catalogue of serious injuries when the Hyundai car she was a passenger in was hit by another vehicle. Janet’s husband of 52 years, Winstone, aged 74 and who was driving the Hyundai, died later in hospital.
Following the crash, in Burrington Combe, the family instructed expert road accident lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help investigate and secure the specialist rehabilitation and therapies Janet requires.
The driver of the other car was jailed for three-and-a-half-years.
Janet, now aged 77, has now joined her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in using Road Safety Week to warn of the consequences of drivers breaking the law. This year’s campaign is aimed at reducing speeding.
Expert Opinion“Sadly through our work we see the devastation that families can be left to face because of the actions of others who break the law.
“Janet and the rest of her family have faced an incredibly tough few years, not only trying to come to terms with the impact of her injuries but also the needless loss of Winstone.
“What happened to Janet and Winstone is a stark reminder of the consequences of speeding and the need to drive safely. We join the family in supporting Road Safety Week.” Ellie Marston - Paralegal
Janet, who used to work in Brislington Post Office, and Winstone, a retired lorry driver, had been out for lunch. They were driving to Bristol Airport to watch planes land and take off when the crash happened on the B3134 on 11 February, 2018.
The driver of a two-litre Honda Prelude lost control of the vehicle on a left hand bend and careered into the path of the couple’s Hyundai.
Janet and Winstone, who had two children and two grandchildren, were trapped in their car in a ditch. Janet was taken to hospital by ambulance with a fractured chest bone, ribs and right knee. She also had deep cuts to her left leg and left index finger. Winstone was airlifted to hospital but died later that day.
Janet spent more than a month in hospital.
She continues to experience pain, particularly in her knee, has reduced strength to lift items and suffers flashbacks to the crash.
Janet said: “Winstone was a wonderful, loving and caring husband, dad and granddad who doted on his family.
“While more than two years have passed since his death the pain we continue to feel is as strong now as it was then. Our family isn’t the same without him and it’s incredibly hard to accept he doesn’t get to mark family occasions such as birthdays.
“Winstone drove for a career and was always a careful driver. In our retirement we used to go out most days and Winstone would drive. I always felt safe in the car with him.
“The crash happened so quickly but the effects have lasted a lot longer.
“Not only have I lost my husband, I’m physically and mentally not the same person as before. I’m a lot more cautious about leaving the house and not as steady on my feet.
“What happened that day has changed our family forever. We know only too well the hurt and pain that can be caused by speeding. All we can hope for now is that by speaking out others realise the dangers of speeding.
“I wouldn’t others to suffer like our family have.”
Mechanic Russell Vines, was testing the Honda which crashed into Janet and Winstone, and had never driven the car previously, Bristol Crown Court was told.
Aged 19 at the time of the crash, he had cannabis in his system and was driving “too fast too inexperienced in a too powerful car, the court heard.
Vines, of Barrington Combe, was sentenced in June 2019. He had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs and causing death while uninsured.
Road Safety Week runs from 16-22 November. Organised by charity Brake this year’s theme is No top Speed.