Cabbie was on phone at time of fatal crash
3:10pm Saturday 28th July 2012 in News
A taxi driver who killed a soldier from Hayscastle when he drove into him was on his mobile phone at the time, Swansea crown court heard last week.
Steven Peter Carey, aged 29, from Llanelli, had already been fined twice for using a mobile while driving.
Carey admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for three years.
He had been on his phone again in the early hours of April 3rd last year when he ran into Lance Corporal Jonathan Gouldsmith, aged 24, who was serving with the Royal Engineers.
After the accident police inspected his mobile phone and found that he had taken photographs while driving on a motorway, and even pictured his car’s speedometer which displayed a speed higher than the legal limit.
Huw Rees, prosecuting, said on April 2nd Mr Gouldsmith, from Hayscastle, and a close Army friend, Tom Hodges, had been out in Swansea.
After originally getting in a taxi, the pair were asked to leave the vehicle and decided to walk along the Trostre link road, until they found signs for Swansea.
Shortly after 4am Carey approached from behind in his taxi. Although he had a clear, unobstructed view for about 200 metres and the street lighting was good, he hit Mr Gouldsmith without braking or trying to drive around him. He was thrown into the air and landed on the bonnet, smashing the windscreen, the court heard.
Mr Rees said an examination of one of Carey’s mobiles showed he had been using the phone from 3.59am to 4.03am. The call had ended only 17 seconds before he dialled 999 following the accident.
At first, added Mr Rees, Carey denied using the phone and later said he may have taken a call. It was now accepted, he said, that he simply did not see Mr Gouldsmith because he had been talking.
He said Carey had been fined in 2008 and 2010 for using a mobile while driving.
He also had a conviction in 2003 for driving while disqualified.
Carey’s barrister, John Hipkin, said he wanted to express his remorse for the sorrow he had caused to Mr Gouldsmith’s family.
“Nothing he could now do would put Jonathan back with the family who loved and cared for him,” he added.
“He too is having to live with the devastating consequences, as are those close to him.”
Judge Keith Thomas said Carey had been so distracted by the conversation he had been having that he had not even seen Mr Gouldsmith, who was wearing a white T-shirt at the time.
He said he did not accept that Mr Gouldsmith’s condition at the time had played any part in the accident.
Carey, he said, would have run into him whether he had been sober or not.
Carey was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to pass an extended driving test before getting his licence back.