Motorist fell asleep and killed two after driving 500 miles in 22 hours

June 17, 2010 | by | 3 Comments

A motorist who killed her partner and teenage brother in a car smash after driving 500 miles in 22 hours without sleep has narrowly avoided jail.

Reckless Joanne Taylor, 27, was behind the wheel for a whole day and night when she smashed into the back of a tractor.

The bingo worker, of Plymouth, Devon, had driven from her home to Liverpool and back and had only stopped occasionally for coffee, a court heard.

Lesbian Taylor eventually nodded of just 25 miles from home, killing her girlfriend Melissa Barnham, 24, and half brother Daniel Lang, 14.

She was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months after previously pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge Graham Cottle told Exeter Crown Court: ”This case has cost two lives already and caused appalling suffering.

”Your decision put everyone in the car at risk and monotonous motorway driving would inevitably take its toll.

”You suffer everyday for the tragedy that you caused. That is the sentence that you imposed upon yourself and will have to live with for the rest of your life.”

Taylor drove to Liverpool on Easter Sunday last year to help with a family emergency.

She set off at around 10am but decided to drive back the same night and left at 10.30pm, making several service station stops along the way.

But she crashed the car on the A38 near Ashburton in Devon at 8.45am after driving through the night – killing Daniel and Melissa.

Daniel’s brother Michael Lang, 17, and Joanne’s father Gordon Taylor, 45, survived the crash.

Taylor’s mother Carol – Daniel’s mother – had begged the court for leniency.

Carol said: ”She’s got to live with what she did the rest of her life. She knows two people she loved died in her car.”

James Warne, a professor on sleep studies, told the court: ”It was a long, arduous and monotonous journey and to attempt it was a foolhardy enterprise with falling asleep at the wheel inevitable.”

Taylor was also disqualified from driving for four years and ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Mike Sugar says:

    What the hell has her sexuality got to do with the report?

    “Lesbian Taylor eventually nodded of just 25 miles from home,…”

  2. Mike Sugar says:

    What the hell has her sexuality got to do with the report?

    “Lesbian Taylor eventually nodded of just 25 miles from home,…”

  3. Anonymous says:

    …and surely she nodded OFF not OF

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