A driver who claimed she did not see a cyclist when she crashed into him and was later discovered to have been making a hands-free mobile phone call at the time has been jailed for causing death by careless driving.
Michael Roff, aged 57 and from Cambridge, died at the city’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital five hours after 27 year old Lauren Hughes of Braintree, Essex, crashed into him as she entered the A602 Barton Road roundabout in Grantchester, close to Junction 12 of the M11.
Mr Roff sustained fatal head injuries as a result of the crash, which happened on Friday 31 July 2020.
Lauren Hughes, 27, said she did not see Michael Roff on his bicycle as she drove her Vauxhall Astra along the A603 Barton Road and entered the roundabout with the M11, near Grantchester, at about 7.30pm on Friday 31 July 2020.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary say that Hughes was in the outside lane as she approached the roundabout, then slowed down and braked suddenly, leaving skidmarks on the road and crashing into the cyclist.
A police digital media investigator discovered that at the time of the fatal collision, Hughes was using it hands-free through an in-car system.
But when she was interviewed by police, the driver insisted she simply had not seen the cyclist.
Yesterday, Hughes was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court to 15 months’ imprisonment after she was convicted of causing death through careless driving.
She was also handed a driving ban of three years and seven and a half months.
Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Michael Roff was a much-loved family man and keen cyclist.
“Lauren Hughes, through her inattention and lack of care for the task of driving, has caused Mr Roff’s family untold pain and suffering.
“This sentence and tragic loss should be a reminder to all about the importance of careful and attentive driving, and that particular attention for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians is paramount.
“I hope that Mr Roff’s family can now look to the future and attempt to rebuild their lives and I would like to thank them for the patience and dignity shown during the investigation and the trial,” he added.
While tougher laws governing the use of handheld mobile phones while driving were brought in earlier this year, the use of hands-free phones is permitted – although a charge of offences such as driving without due care and attention can be brought if the driver is believed to have been distracted through their use of the device.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.