Published: 10:58, 12 November 2018
| Updated: 11:16, 12 November 2018
A 26 year-old woman has been jailed for 11 months for causing a crash on the M20 in which the wife of a lorry driver died in the cab.
Jenna Beveridge had driven from Scotland to Kent with just one 20-minute stop when her Mini Cooper drifted into the central reservation and then crossed from the third lane into the second and hit the HGV in the first lane, causing it to jack knife and overturn, trapping the victim.
Beveridge, of Maxwell Place in Deal admitted causing the death of Portuguese mother-of-three Susana Maria Teixeira De Alkmeida, 42, by driving carelessly in November last year.
The victim died after becoming trapped in the overturned lorry driven by her husband of 22 years Victor Ribeiro, between junctions 10 for Ashford and 11 for Hythe.
Daniel Stevenson, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court that it was likely that Beveridge had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Her car drifted to the central reservation, hit the rumble strips which caused her to lose control and veer across the motorway before hitting the lorry.
Mr Ribeiro was driving towards Dover at 56mph and his tachograph showed he had been driving for 40 minutes.
To begin with Beveridge blamed the lorry driver for the crash and told police that he hit her car and she did not swerve out of control. But witnesses saw her car drift into the central reservation and a police accident inspector said tyre marks showed her story could not be true.
In a statement read to the court Mr Ribeiro, 44, who was injured in the accident, said: “Our lives depended on each other as we worked together. I do not know how to live without my wife.
“We shared our business for 10 years and we were a very happy couple. This was the worst day of my life. Suddenly a Mini appeared out of nowhere. This was the last moment I saw my wife alive. I heard her screaming. I was by her side and watched her die and there was nothing I could do.”
The couple have two boys of eight and 15 and a daughter of 20.
“We have lost our pillar and we do not know how to live without her,” Mr Ribeiro said.
“Our lives have fallen apart. I have not been able to go back to work. Images of the death of my wife come into my mind.
“I lost my best friend, my co-worker, my wife and mother of my children. I struggle every day.”
Mark Cotter QC, defending, said Beveridge, a flight attendant, may have fallen asleep.
She was remorseful and said the accident had had an extremely profound effect on her, causing post traumatic stress disorder.
Judge Heather Norton said Mr Ribeiro had taken all his rest breaks and was driving in an entirely legal manner.
She told Beveridge: “This accident was the result of a deliberate act by you to drive with wholly inadequate rest.”
She said it came close to dangerous driving rather than careless.
“The consequences of this crash are that three children lost their mother, Mr Ribeiro lost his wife and livelihood and his wife lost her life,” Judge Norton said.
Beveridge was also banned from driving for two years and 24 weeks.