Ellesmere Port driver jailed for fatal collision

A dangerous driver who killed an innocent woman during a collision in Chester has been jailed.

Paul Wright appeared at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, 25 January, where he was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The 31-year-old of Ellesmere Port had previously pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

During the hearing the court was told that on Sunday, 5 November 2023, Wright was driving a BMW X5 along Liverpool Road, Chester, travelling to see his partner who was in hospital having given birth to his second child.

As he approached the Countess of Chester hospital, he was travelling at 60mph in a 40mph zone. His speed slowed slightly to 30mph, when he skipped a red light and ploughed into the side of a Vauxhall Grandland X, driven by Jane Hickson. 

57-year-old Jane, who was taking her 21-year-old daughter to see her elderly grandparents, sustained fatal injuries, and passed away at the scene.

During their investigation officers found that Wright had already contravened two other red lights in the minutes prior to the collision.

One of these was on Whitby Lane, where he nearly narrowly avoided a collision. When a witness showed their concern and discontent at the incident, Wright stuck his middle finger up and drove off at speed.

Wright performed poorly on a field impairment test and tested positive for cannabis on a drugs wipe. A subsequent blood test revealed he was under the legal limit; however, his drug use was used by the judge when determining his prison sentence.

During the hearing, it was also revealed that Wright was on bail for drug driving at the time of the crash, having previously been arrested in May 2023 after testing positive on a roadside drugs wipe. Officers were awaiting the blood analysis results when he killed Jane.

Sergeant Simon Degg, of the Cheshire Police Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This collision occurred due to the extremely poor and dangerous driving of Paul Wright over a prolonged period of time. His driving can only be described as atrocious and pointless.

“His actions have devastated the lives of all those involved, including his own family. However, the family and friends of Jane have suffered the most severe and horrific loss.

“Jane was a dedicated wife, devoted mother and clearly a wonderful lady who was loved by all who met her. Her family have approached this investigation, and subsequent criminal proceedings, with the most admirable poise and dignity, and our thoughts are with them at this time.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Wright was also banned from driving for 14 years. Once he has completed his 14-year driving ban he will also be required to undertake an extended driving test.

Sergeant Degg added, “Dashcam footage provided by a number of witnesses has proved vital in allowing us to establish the full sequence of events, and I would like to commend all of the members of the public and witnesses who came forward during our investigation.

“Without their support and willingness to help, I have no doubt that this investigation would have been greatly diluted.

“Driving of this nature should never be tolerated by any community, and if anything positive can come from this devastating incident, I hope that it encourages other motorists to share their footage if they witness people driving dangerously.”

Image: Paul Wright/Cheshire Police

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