Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Minibus driver jailed for drug-driving over A34 death crash

Lee Burdon Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Lee Burdon was the designated driver for a group of workers travelling from the North East

A minibus driver who caused a fatal crash while under the influence of drugs has been jailed for six years.

Lee Burdon was driving a Ford Transit minibus that collided with a lorry at an estimated 92mph on the A34 near Sutton Scotney, Hampshire, on 26 February.

Passenger Craig Hall, 36, of Middlesbrough, died at the scene.

Burdon, 20, of Tristram Avenue, Hartlepool, had traces of a breakdown product of cocaine in his system.

He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed drug limit, at an earlier hearing.

David Reid, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court Burdon was the designated driver for a group of workers travelling from the North East to the now-closed Fawley Power Station in Hampshire.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Craig Hall, pictured with his stepdaughter Shannon, was described as having a "heart of gold"

He had driven for more than four hours, including breaks, covering 250 miles (400km) from Wetherby, West Yorkshire.

The crash happened as was overtaking a lorry at an estimated 92mph in a 60mph zone of the dual carriageway.

Three other passengers in the minibus, all from North Yorkshire, were hurt in the crash.

The 63-year-old lorry driver, from Warwickshire, was uninjured.

'Wonderful life'

Following his death, Mr Hall was described by his family as having a "heart of gold".

His wife Jackie said in a victim impact statement read to the court: "Craig was my whole world and he used to say his life never started until he met me.

"He treated me like a princess. We had such a wonderful life together, now all that has changed because of the reckless actions of Lee Burdon."

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Barnett said Burdon's driving was "little short of dangerous".

"To drive that sort of vehicle at that sort of speed in the condition you were in from tiredness and drugs was little short of dangerous and you did it for some considerable time."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The crash happened on the A34 southbound at Sutton Scotney Services

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