Eleanor Coleman jailed over Halloween A47 Norfolk crash
- 24 October 2012
- From the section Norfolk
A Norfolk teenager who drove into a lorry, killing her friend, following a Halloween night out has been jailed for 15 months.
Eleanor Coleman, 19, of Runham, near Great Yarmouth, drove into the back of a lorry in a layby of the A47 at North Burlingham early on 1 November 2011.
Ellie Tweed, 18, from Hemsby, died and three others were seriously injured.
Coleman, who admitted causing death by careless driving, also received a three-year driving ban.
Burst into flames
Norwich Crown Court heard Coleman had driven friends in fancy dress from Acle to Norwich for a night out and was on the return leg the next morning.
After crashing into the lorry, the car soon burst into flames.
Witnesses, including lorry driver Peter Jolly, managed to get Coleman and her three back seat passengers out of the car, but Ms Tweed's body was not discovered until after the fire was put out.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Coleman had only been travelling at 40mph in a 50mph zone when the crash happened, but there was no suggestion of the car braking.
It was thought the girls had been singing along to the radio before it crashed.
Blood tests found Coleman, who suffered head injuries and a broken wrist, had taken MDMA and cannabis, but not at levels that could have contributed to the crash.
There was also no alcohol in her system.
Her other passengers were seriously hurt, with one having "life-changing" injuries.
Coleman had one previous conviction for speeding in June 2011, the court heard.
Mr Youell said Coleman delayed investigations by initially refusing to admit she drove the car.
Police said she also gave false names for her and her friends and was cautioned for possessing another woman's driving licence.
A statement from Coleman, read out by her barrister, Michael Clare, said: "I hate myself for everything that has happened and I will never forgive myself."
Sentencing Coleman, Judge Peter Jacobs said: "If I could put the clock back... I would do so. But I'm not a god. Whatever sentence I pass it will satisfy nobody.
"You were tired, not in the mindset to drive at all. You will regret this for the rest of your life."
Steve Matthews, senior investigating officer at Norfolk Police, said: "It has been absolutely traumatic for all parties involved."