Tuesday 26 September 2017

Young driver accused of mowing down elderly couple while on her iPhone is cleared of causing death by dangerous driving

Taylor McDonnell, 21, (left) leaves Newport Crown Court after being cleared of causing death by dangerous driving where it was alleged that she was using a mobile phone at the wheel when fatally hitting married couple Joyce and Denis Drew, both 86 near their home in Ponthir, South Wales in 2013. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Taylor McDonnell, 21, (left) leaves Newport Crown Court after being cleared of causing death by dangerous driving where it was alleged that she was using a mobile phone at the wheel when fatally hitting married couple Joyce and Denis Drew, both 86 near their home in Ponthir, South Wales in 2013. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Sisters of Joyce and Dennis Drew, Helen Adam, left, and Sarah England, right, speak outside Newport Crown Court after Taylor McDonnell, 21, was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving where it was alleged that she was using a mobile phone at the wheel when fatally hitting married couple Joyce and Denis Drew, both 86 near their home in Ponthir, South Wales in 2013. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Denis and Joyce Drew, both 86, who died after being hit by a car driven by hairdresser Taylor McDonnell in November 2013. Photo: Gwent Police /PA Wire

A young motorist accused of mowing down an elderly couple while on her iPhone has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

Taylor Jay McDonnell, 21, was driving to see her boyfriend when she knocked over and killed 86-year-olds Joyce and Denis Drew.

The couple, who had been married for 54 years, were crossing a poorly-lit road near their home in Ponthir, South Wales.

The prosecution alleged that Ms McDonnell had been distracted while using her iPhone at the wheel.

However, the hairdresser told the jury at Newport Crown Court that she made a call to her grandfather while in a lay-by before switching to hands-free mode.

She broke down in tears as she recalled how the Drews came out of nowhere on a wet and dark winter night.

Her trial also heard evidence from road crash expert David Loat - a former Avon and Somerset Constabulary officer who led the investigation into a horrific Bonfire Night pile-up on the M5 which killed seven people.

Mr Loat said that the collision was unavoidable because Mr and Mrs Drew were obscured by a passing car as they crossed the road.

He said: "It is possible that both views (of Ms McDonnell and the Drews) were obstructed by that car.

"You would have got glare from the headlights ... anything behind an approaching vehicle becomes very difficult to see."

Ms McDonnell was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving and a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

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