Todmorden horror crash driver jailed for seven years after death of "loving and loyal family man"
A drugged up Yodel delivery driver has been jailed for seven years after he knocked down and killed a man who was out riding his bike in Todmorden as part of his training for an Ironman event.
Stephen White, who was married with two grown up sons, was on a Saturday morning ride on his high-performance bike in May 2020 when Jonathon Ramsbottom failed to see him as they travelled in opposite directions on the A646 Burnley Road at Todmorden.
Ramsbottom, 37, who was still over the drug driving limit after using cocaine and cannabis in the preceding days, collided virtually head-on with the 54-year-old when he made a right turn in his Peugeot Boxer Van into Church Road.
Bradford Crown Court heard that Mr White, from Bolton, had no time to react and in the collision he suffered a “catastrophic brain injury” which was unsurvivable despite the efforts of paramedics and hospital staff.
Ramsbottom, from Rochdale, had been delivering parcels that morning, but the court heard he had not worked the day before because he felt he was not fit to work after taking cocaine and cannabis.
A blood test following the collision revealed that a metabolite of cocaine was still in his system and it was four times the permitted level.
Ramsbottom pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs and it emerged that at the time of the fatal crash he was already on bail for his involvement in a major drugs supply conspiracy.
He was eventually jailed for four-and-a-half years in December 2020 for that drugs offence and today the Recorder of Bradford Judge Richard Mansell QC said Ramsbottom’s seven-year jail term for causing Mr White’s death would run consecutively to his current sentence.
He also banned Ramsbottom from driving again for a total of 11 years and ordered him to take an extended re-test.
In a victim impact statement, Mr White’s wife described him as “a loving and loyal family man” and said: ”I still cannot really believe that Steve didn’t come home that day.”
She said the damage done was irreversible and her husband was “irreplaceable”.
Barrister Chundi Grant, for Ramsbottom, said the collision had been a lapse of concentration on his client’s part with devastating consequences for those involved.
Mr Grant said his client did express genuine remorse and he would have to carry the guilt for the rest of his life.
Judge Mansell said Ramsbottom had been driving too fast on the approach to the junction and had cut across without slowing or giving way whatsoever.
“Mr White was a very proficient and fit cyclist who was training for an Ironman Triathlon when you brought his life to a premature end by your actions,” the judge told Ramsbottom.
“The standard of driving on our roads has deteriorated markedly in recent years and in my judgement, based on experience not only as a crown court judge who has sat in Greater Manchester and now Bradford but as a road user myself, it has reached a level that I can properly described as appalling.
“Far too many people in an unseemly rush to get from A to B with little or no regard for the safety of other drivers, cyclists or pedestrians.”
The judge said Ramsbottom’s case was seriously aggravated by the fact he on bail for a conspiracy to supply cocaine and added: ”Something no doubt you had not disclosed to your employers Yodel when you took this job as a delivery driver.”
“He (Mr White) did not come out of nowhere as you claimed in interview,” the judge told Ramsbottom.
“Any careful, sensible and sober driver would have seen him and avoided him.
“You were driving too fast, one arm out of the window, with a passenger in the vehicle and with excess cocaine and some cannabis in your system.
“These two drugs, often used in combination by so many young men who work in manual or trade jobs, is fast becoming a scourge of our society.
“Cyclists take their life in their hands when they go out on just about any road in our country now.”