A lorry driver has been sentenced to five years in prison for causing the death of a woman after he crashed into her car while he was checking his mobile phone.
David Shields, 34, a recovery driver from Ayr, was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow after having pled guilty to causing the death of 66-year-old Yvonne Blackman.
The tragedy happened on the A75 Gretna to Stranraer road near to its junction with Lockerbie Road roundabout in Dumfries on 8 February last year.
Dashcam and cab footage shows the tragic moment Shields smashes into the back of Ms Blackman’s car after failing to pay attention to the road.
The court heard that Shields’ attention was repeatedly focused on the dash-mounted mobile in the cab of his lorry. Immediately before the collision his attention was again on the mobile and he failed to notice and react to the line of traffic ahead of him until it was too late.
Shields’ lorry collided with the rear of Mrs Blackman’s car causing it to be propelled into the rear of another car before it was pushed on to the opposing carriageway where it was struck again by the lorry.
Yvonne Blackman, a missionary worker from Lockerbie, had been on her way to meet fellow volunteers when the crash happened. She suffered severe injuries and died in hospital on February 22 2017.
Her husband, Ralph, told The Sunday Post of the family’s agony watching her deteriorate over the course of two weeks before she finally succumbed to her devastating injuries.
He said: “We couldn’t see her at first when she was in hospital in Dumfries. Then we rushed down to Glasgow and we finally saw her. It was the worst day of my life.
“She was lying there with all these tubes and wires attached to her. At first you could feel her trying to respond when you held her hand, she was trying to squeeze it back.
“She stopped being able to after a few days. She couldn’t talk, I don’t think she knew we were there after a while – she was completely paralysed from the neck down.
“Doctors said if she did survive, she would be paralysed. As a family we knew she wouldn’t want that. She was such an active person. We were then asked about switching off the life support, and we asked them if we could have a little bit longer with her.
“Two weeks after the accident we had to let her go.”
Mr Blackman has called for tougher punishments for any drivers caught using mobile phones at the wheel.
Shields was also disqualified from driving for seven and a half years.
David Green, head of the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit, said: “David Shields’ dangerous driving has irrevocably damaged many lives and our thoughts go to the family of Yvonne Blackman.
“Driving while handling a mobile phone, in any context, is illegal and dangerous and can have the most serious of consequences.”