TWO “astonishly arrogant” drivers were jailed this week for causing the death of a Sheffield teaching assistant in a car smash while racing each other along a dual carriageway.
June Bryce-Stephen, aged 56, who worked at Hinde House school, was killed as her Nissan Micra crossed from Lyminster Road into Halifax Road last March.
Her car was hit by a silver Honda Civic driven by Adam Cox, aged 23, who had been racing with Simon Chevens, aged 42, in his orange Ford Focus.
Sheffield Crown Court heard they were speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and following each other bumper to bumper.
After witnessing the crash, Chevens, who had only passed his driving test 10 days beforehand, fled the scene.
Judge Michael Murphy QC jailed Chevens for seven years, while Cox will serve five years in prison. They were banned from driving for a decade and must take an extended retest afterwards.
Sentencing them both, he said: “June Bryce-Stephen was driving her car in a perfectly normal manner at approximately 5mph as she crossed Halifax Road.
“It was her huge misfortune to be undertaking that manoeuvre as you two men were racing along the road.
“Whether you were trying to establish which of your motor cars was the more powerful, or you had been aggravated by the driving of the other man’s car, doesn’t matter to me. The arrogance of you two men is astonishing. You thought nothing of other road users.”
After the hearing, June Bryce-Stephen’s daughter, Joanne Capille, aged 39, said: “The actions of these two selfish and inconsiderate people have had devastating and heartbreaking consequences for myself and my family.
“When people drive in this way, they need to stop and think about the grief and horror they could be inflicting on innocent families. My mum was in the wrong place at the wrong time, literally by seconds, but it could easily have been anyone else’s mum, dad or child.”
Judge Murphy said passers-by “stepped back in fear” and other motorists “winced” as Chevens and Cox drove by at up to 70mph. The speed limit is 40mph.
Anthony Sugare, defending Cox, said the electrician had “never sought to blame anyone else” for the crash.
Cox, of Oldfield Road, Stannington, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, while Chevens was convicted by jurors of the same charge.
“He accepts the consequences of his own actions, clearly unlike his co-accused,” Mr Sugare said. “This was a few moments of madness.”
Richard Barradale, defending Chevens, of Wood Close, Chapeltown, said he was a “family man” with a wife and daughter, and that he was “decent and hard-working”.
Chevens’ record included dishonesty and supplying drugs, while Cox had no previous convictions.