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Drug-driver jailed after killing father and toddler in Nottinghamshire crash

A mother has been left without her husband and two-year-old son after a drug driver drove onto the wrong side of the road and tragically destroyed her family.

John Woodcock, aged 44, and toddler Lewis Woodcock, were killed on 15 January 2022 after their car was hit as they were coming home from a lovely day spent with their family.

John, known to his family and friends as Dan, and Lewis were travelling along Chesterfield Road North, Pleasley, just after 6 pm, when an Audi driven by James Gibson hit their vehicle side-on.

It flipped in the air and landed wedged between another car and a wall.

Gibson, aged 31, had been driving on the opposite side of the road reaching speeds of up to 82mph in a 30mph zone.

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He had also got behind the wheel after taking drugs and had alcohol in his system.

After running a red light and undertaking vehicles, it was then that Gibson veered into the centre of the carriageway and struck a concrete pedestrian crossing.

Dan’s car was travelling on the opposite side of the road with his son in a car seat in the rear when Gibson came onto their side of the road and hit their car.

There was nothing Dan could have done to avoid the collision.

Despite the efforts of members of the public, emergency services and hospital staff neither Dan nor Lewis could be saved.

John Woodcock, aged 44, and toddler Lewis Woodcock

Another car travelling behind Dan’s, which had a family of three inside, was also hit. They were left with only minor injuries but were greatly impacted emotionally after having witnessed the crash and its aftermath.

After a thorough investigation by Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, Gibson was found to be over the drug-drive limit with cannabis in his system.

The impairment caused by the cannabis in his system would have been increased due to him also having alcohol in his system at the time, albeit the level of alcohol did not put him over the limit for drink-driving.

It was established by the Forensic Collision Investigator that Gibson had travelled through a red light, undertaken vehicles and consistently exceeded the 30mph speed limit reaching speeds of up to 82mph.

At three separate locations on Gibson’s route towards the collision site speeds of 82mph, 75mph and 52mph were recorded for Gibson, despite the speed limit at these locations being 30mph.

Gibson, of Mapletoft Avenue, Mansfield Woodhouse, had to be cut from his car by firefighters and had multiple broken bones. Throughout the investigation, he stated he couldn’t recall what happened.

Appearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday 24 July, after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, Gibson was jailed for a total of 12 years in prison.

He was also banned from driving for 18 years.

Investigator Louise Melbourne from Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “James Gibson’s driving and actions on this day took a well-loved husband, son, brother, friend, and adored grandchild from their family and friends.

“No family should ever have to go through what their family has and still goes through daily. And that suffering was completely avoidable.

“Gibson got behind the wheel of his car not only with alcohol in his system but drugs too.

“Not content with that, his manner of driving, reaching speeds nearly three times the limit, running a red light, and overtaking cars putting countless drivers at risk showed his complete disregard not only for his own safety but innocent members of the public too.

“I want to send a strong reminder to anyone thinking about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after taking drugs or drinking – think of Dan and Lewis, and the utter devastation you could cause by your selfish actions.

“Don’t be that person – catch a taxi or ask a friend to drive you. Nothing is worth risking your life or the life of another”

•  Mother pays tribute to husband and toddler who were killed in Nottinghamshire crash

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