A tipper truck driver who was responsible for causing the death of a woman after driving on the wrong side of the road was sentenced to more than three years’ imprisonment at Glasgow High Court last Thursday.
On the 14th January 2019, Michael Friel, now aged 57, pled guilty at Edinburgh High Court to causing the death of Meghan Ambrozevich-Blair by dangerous driving.
Meghan, a 26-year-old veterinary nursing student from Dunbar, had been travelling to work northbound on the A1 when Friel’s Ford Transit tipper van struck her in the early hours on the 9th December 2016. Friel, from Haddington, had joined the dual carriageway in the wrong direction and continued to travel south between the Spott and Thistly Cross roundabouts.
Five drivers had to take evasive action to avoid colliding with Friel’s oncoming vehicle, all of who flashed their headlights to alert Friel of what he was doing. Friel, who was suffering from an “acute stress reaction”, performed a three-point turn on the A1 before “ploughing” his vehicle into the victim’s car. Despite members of the public stopping to help in any way they could, including an off-duty doctor who commenced CPR on Meghan, she had sustained significant injuries from the head-on collision and died at the scene.
At Glasgow High Court, Friel was sentenced to three and a half years' imprisonment and disqualified from driving for nine years and nine months, under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 section 35(C)(4).
In the court, Lord Arthurson made the following statement on sentencing:
“I have concluded, that in the whole circumstances of this case, no sentence other than a custodial one would be appropriate. The driving which you engaged in on 9 December 2016 in my opinion can properly be characterised… as driving that created a substantial risk of danger.”
Sergeant Gary Taylor of the Road Policing Unity said:
“This was a senseless and devastating loss of a young woman’s life. The consequences of dangerous driving have been shown to be catastrophic for all those affected. Meghan had everything ahead of her and the lives of her loved ones are forever changed.”
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