Shropshire Star

Danger driver jailed for 80mph head-on A53 crash that killed 'selfless' 19-year-old woman

A BMW driver whose dangerous 80mph overtaking manoeuvre killed a 19-year-old Shropshire woman in a head-on crash, has been jailed.

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Jailed: Ashley Kosciekowski

Ashley Kosciekowski, of Knypersley Road, Stoke-on-Trent, was sentenced to six years and eight months in jail at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Thursday.

The 34-year-old had pleaded guilty to causing the death of trainee primary school teacher Charlotte Hope by dangerous driving, in the horror crash on the A53 at Upper Astley, between Shawbury and Shrewsbury, on April 9 this year.

The crash also left Charlotte's mother, Helen Hope, with serious injuries from which she is still recovering.

Kosciekowski had also admitted a second charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Charlotte Hope revisiting the Restart charity in Kenya where she had previously volunteered

Charlotte, from Shawbury, had been described as "selfless, loving and caring", and had ambitions to work as a primary school teacher in Kenya, where she also intended to volunteer at a charity which helps rescue children from the streets.

She attended Edge Hill University and had also volunteered with the League of Friends to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital during the pandemic.

The court had been told Kosciekowski was found to have cannabis in his system, with police discovering the stub of a joint in the foot-well of his vehicle.

A driver who had approached Kosciekowski in the aftermath of the crash said "although he could not smell alcohol, the manner of his speech led him to believe he was under the influence of drink or drugs", the court heard.

Judge Anthony Lowe was told how Kosciekowski had been on his way to a shift at the Veolia recycling centre in Shrewsbury, where he worked, but was not late.

The fatal crash happened on the A53, close the Dog in the Lane pub, at Upper Astley. Photo: Google.

During an emotional and harrowing hearing, 14 members of Charlotte's family and friends heard how she had gone to pick her mother up from Shrewsbury on the afternoon of the tragedy.

While driving back home her Blue VW Polo was hit head-on by Kosciekowski after he had overtaken three cars at around 80mph.

Philip Beardwell, prosecuting, said that witnesses had described how Kosciekowski lost control of the car as it headed into a bend, with one describing it "fishtailing".

The court heard how several oncoming vehicles around the bend were forced to take evasive action, but tragedy struck as his car hit Charlotte's vehicle at 4.16pm.

Mr Beardwell said: "Charlotte Hope suffered fatal spinal injuries, her death would have been immediate. She was 19 years old."

Mrs Hope suffered serious injuries in the crash, including a broken ankle, fractures to her ribs and nose, and a herniated bowel.

In a moving statement to the court she told how she had been left unconscious and woke in hospital to be told her daughter had died.

Other witnesses had described how Kosciekowski had been impatient as a queue of traffic formed behind a vehicle which was travelling at around 45mph in a 60mph zone.

Kosciekowski had been the fourth car in the line of traffic, with the driver ahead of him telling how he was "so close behind she could see neither his bumper or headlights".

Mr Beardwell told that as the convoy passed the Dog in the Lane pub, at Upper Astley, Kosciekowski overtook all three vehicles, travelling at up to 84mph in his three-litre turbocharged BMW, leading to the tragic head-on collision.

Mitigating, Barry White, said that Kosciekowski had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was a man of previous good character, apart from three points for a speeding offence on the motorway.

He said he was someone who had suffered with mental health and had "self medicated" with cannabis – but knew he would have been over the limit and should not have been driving.

He added that he "extends genuine remorse" to Miss Hope's family, and accepted he "deserves" to go to jail.

Sentencing Judge Lowe said: "You chose to overtake not one, not two, but three cars. You had to go at excessive speed to do that manoeuvre, with a right-hand bend approaching and you could not possibly have known if you had enough road."

Kosciekowski was jailed for a total of six years and four months, and will be eligible for release on license after serving half of his sentence – three years and two months.

He was disqualified from driving for seven years and one month – and must undergo an extended re-test if he wishes to drive again.

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