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10 year jail sentence sentence for drug-driver who caused fatal collision

A drug-driver who killed another motorist in a head on collision has been jailed.

Alan Harwood was behind the wheel of a van when it crashed into a vehicle heading the other way.

He chose to overtake a lorry around 30 seconds earlier while approaching an uphill bend in Bawtry Road, Bircotes.

Harwood – who was under the influence of cocaine at the time – continued to speed up behind another vehicle ahead of him.

He then left his lane to prepare to overtake again, but instead collided head on with Lucian Abbey, around 9.45am on 9 March 2023.

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The 51-year-old father of three, who was travelling in the other direction in his van, was pronounced deceased at the roadside shortly afterwards.

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Lucian Abbey

Blood tests later showed that Harwood – who himself sustained multiple fractures in the crash – had traces of cocaine in his system at the time.

Harwood, of no fixed address, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and drug-driving.

After pleading guilty to the charges, the 49-year-old appeared before Nottingham Crown Court to be sentenced on Monday (20 May).

Ahead of the sentencing, a statement written by Rachel Cleary, Lucian’s partner, was read out to the court.

She said: “Lucian was a funny, kind, sweet, sometimes obtrusive but lovely man, who had a knack of making you feel special. He was truly a unique soul.

“My heart breaks daily at the thought his children will never get another birthday or Christmas with him, and he will never get to do all the firsts a dad should do.”

Graham Pace, Lucian’s cousin, added: “The impact of one man’s selfish, reckless and dangerous actions within minutes have killed my cousin and ruined the lives of my family and Lucian’s friends and partner.

“We cannot comprehend why or how he could feel it necessary to drive under the influence of drugs and do what he did. This action has caused the death of my cousin and to us is unforgivable.”

Sentencing Harwood to ten years in prison, Judge Michael Auty KC, said: “If it was in my gift to restore his life, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but I can’t.

“Nothing I can do will heal the misery and suffering of the family who mourn the passing of their loved one.

“It must have been obvious to you that you were completing a dangerous manoeuvre. The real tragedy of this case is that it was completely unnecessary.

“You cost three innocent children their father. You took one life but irreparably damaged more, due to your selfishness and irresponsibility.”

Following his prison sentence, Harwood will be banned from driving for a further five years and will then have to complete a retest.

Detective Constable Liah Lane, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Harwood’s actions on the road that morning were careless in the extreme and ultimately cost another man his life.

“By not only deciding to get behind the wheel while having drugs in his system, but also to complete what was a dangerous manoeuvre in poor weather conditions, he put others at serious risk.

“Tragically, this proved to be the case, as after committing to a reckless overtake, he collided head on with Mr Abbey’s vehicle.    

“As the judge rightly said in his summary, no prison sentence can make up for the loss of a loved one, but we hope the punishment passed can provide the family with some comfort during what must be an incredibly difficult time.”

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