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Tydd ST Giles driver jailed for causing death of man after crash on A14 in Northamptonshire

A 28-year-old driver who caused the death of a ‘much-loved’ man because he was distracted by his vehicle’s on-board computer has been jailed.

Charles Ryan has been sentenced to four years and three months in prison after pleading guilty to causing the death of 40-year-old Craig Melville from Weldon in a crash on the A14 in Northamptonshire in October 2022.

At Monday’s (January 15) sentencing hearing, Ryan, formerly of Bees Lane in Tydd St Giles, Cambridgeshire was also disqualified from driving for two years which will come into force once he’s released from prison.

Northampton Crown Court. Photo: Google
Northampton Crown Court. Photo: Google

At about 4pm on October 10, 2022, Ryan was travelling on the eastbound carriageway of the A14 in his white Ford Transit van when he became distracted by the vehicle’s onboard computer as he wanted to know if he had enough fuel to get home.

The traffic ahead had started to slow to allow the recovery of a silver Ford Fusion car, which had broken down in the nearside lane, about a mile prior to the Welford junction.

However, Ryan was still in cruise control, travelling at about 70mph in the right-hand overtaking lane.

The court heard that the driver of the car travelling immediately in front of Ryan moved left into the nearside lane, after they noticed in their rear-view mirror that the van did not appear to be slowing down.

When Ryan finally looked up, it was too late and his van collided with the rear of Mr Melville’s silver Volkswagen Polo at speed, causing extensive damage to the car as it spun out of control before stopping in the overtaking lane.

Mr Melville, a husband and father, was airlifted to the University Hospital Coventry.

However, three days later, he died from the serious head injuries he sustained in the collision.

Following an investigation by Northamptonshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, via a postal requisition last September, Ryan was charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

He appeared before Northampton Magistrates’ Court on October 5, where his case was sent to the county’s crown court, and on November 23, he pleaded guilty to causing Mr Melville’s death and the case was adjourned for sentencing.

Following the sentencing hearing, Detective Inspector Ryan Catling of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The devastation Charles Ryan’s actions have caused will live beyond the sentence which has been imposed by the courts.

“Ryan admitted he was distracted with the thought of getting home on the fuel he had left in his vehicle.

“As a result of his lapse of concentration about what was happening on the road ahead, he robbed Craig Melville of the same opportunity of getting home safely.

“Mr Melville was a much-loved husband and father with a wide circle of family and friends, who all thought the absolute world of him.

“His death has left a family completely and forever heartbroken and no sentence will ever make up for their loss.

“He had been travelling in convoy with his wife at the time of the collision. Ryan may have lost his liberty for a few years, but Mrs Melville will never be able to forget what she witnessed in the rear-view mirror that day.”

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