An off-duty paramedic has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison after fatally striking a cyclist with his car while double the legal drink-drive limit.
Robert Woodruff, who has worked for Yorkshire Ambulance Service since 2014, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Hull Crown Court, where he was also banned from driving for seven years and eight months, after which he will be required to pass an extended test.
The BBC reports that the 36-year-old had consumed ten pints of Guinness before borrowing his father’s car to drive to a party on 26 June 2021.
On the A1033 between the villages of Patrington and Ottringham in East Yorkshire, Woodruff veered across the road, striking cyclist Richard Goodwin, who had been riding home from a barbecue on the rural road.
56-year-old father of five Goodwin, from Hull, was carried for 70 metres on the bonnet of Woodruff’s car, and died at the scene shortly after.
The court heard that the motorist had veered across the road “for no apparent reason” into the “clearly visible” cyclist.
According to witnesses, Woodruff had tailgated another driver in the moments before the collision, and had narrowly avoided driving into an oncoming car while attempting an overtake.
Witnesses also saw the driver looking down at his phone, which had been placed on the front passenger seat. Records showed that Woodruff had made a number of phone calls using the car’s in-built hands-free device.
Mr Goodwin’s 19-year-old son Oliver told the court that he is “haunted” by the thoughts of his father’s final moments, while another son, Sam, said that his father had been the “glue” that held the family together.
Though Woodruff avoided looking at the public gallery while Mr Goodwin’s sons read their statements, he apologised in a letter to the Goodwin family, and said that he hoped his “shameful actions” would act as an “eye-opener” for anyone else tempted to drink and drive.
Judge Mark Bury said that the paramedic had devoted his life to “saving lives, not wrecking them”.
He concluded: “I believe you will carry the guilt of your shameful actions for the rest of your life.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.