A TEENAGE motorist who caused a head on crash that killed a woman on her way to work was spared immediate detention by a judge
Mother of one Susan Sharp died almost instantly when a Fiat driven by Joshua Denning crossed onto the wrong side of the A51 near Stone and hit her Citroen car.
But the cause of Denning's careless driving remains a mystery, Stafford crown court heard.
The defendant, 18 at the time of the accident, had passed his driving test only ten weeks previously and when questioned he told police the last thing he could remember was pulling away from the kerb.
Denning, now 19, of Mill Lane, Standon near Eccleshall who admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving, was sentenced to 24 weeks detention suspended for a year with 150 hours of unpaid community work. He was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £500 costs.
Judge Michael Cullum told him: "Nothing I can do can affect the loss Mrs Sharp's family feel by her untimely death. She was a much loved mother, wife and daughter.
"You didn't set out that day to hurt anybody, you are decent and honest. You made one mistake and you cannot now remember what it was and you have been punishing yourself for it. You have suffered physically and mentally as a result of this accident and it is a miracle that you survived."
Mrs Sharp, who was 48 and lived in Salt, near Stafford leaves a husband and a daughter now aged nine. The couple had been married for ten years.
The accident happened on 24 November last year around 7.15am on the A51 near Aston Marina when both drivers were on their way to work.
Another driver following behind, Mr Peter Overton, saw the Fiat drift across the road without warning in to the path of the oncoming car.
Mr Nick Burn, prosecuting, said: "The head on collision which occurred was clearly catastrophic in terms of damage to the vehicles and the very severe injuries the lady sustained. She never regained consciousness."
A police accident investigator was unable to find any definite cause for Denning's action. "It must have been driver error on the part of the defendant," said Mr Burn.
Miss Sarah Buckingham, defending, told the judge: "Each and every day my client wakes up and thinks of Mrs Sharp and her family. He cannot bring himself to discuss it.
"This is a young man who is not a boy racer that has total disregard for human life."
She said Denning himself, an apprentice with a local firm, had suffered serious pelvic injuries and a fractured knee and it was feared he might have to have part of his leg amputated. He used to be a keen rugby player, but he will never play again and now coaches the sport.