Romford man gets community order for causing pensioner's crash death

Lee Garcia who admitted causing death by careless driving following a crash on the A143 near Brockdish in October 2019.

Lee Garcia who admitted causing death by careless driving following a crash on the A143 near Brockdish in October 2019. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

A Romford man who admitted causing a grandmother's death in a crash in Norfolk has avoided a prison term.

Lee Garcia, 42, was handed an 18 month community order and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work after killing 75-year-old Dawn Waterman.

Dawn died after a crash on the A143 near Brockdish, which happened at about 3.45pm on October 20 2019.

Norwich Crown Court heard Garcia had been driving his partner and three children to the Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth when their Ford C-Max crashed into a Vauxhall Corsa being piloted by Dawn's daughter Kelly.

David Wilson, prosecuting, said the crash happened on a left-hand bend when Garcia “drifted across the road into the oncoming lane of traffic”.

He said there were tragic consequences with Dawn, a front seat passenger, being fatally injured and Kelly suffering serious internal injuries. 

When interviewed by police Garcia said he “couldn’t remember what happened”.

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He said he did not feel tired as he was driving but recalled his partner “shouting at him” before he woke up slumped in the car.

A picture of Dawn Waterman who was killed following a crash on the A143 near Brockdish in October 2019.

Dawn Waterman was killed following a crash on the A143 in October 2019 - Credit: Picture submitted by Waterman family.

Mr Wilson said a police investigation found the cause of the crash was unknown although the most likely reason was “he succumbed to tiredness” or was distracted causing him to lose concentration.

The court was told by Mr Wilson it had been “more than momentary inattention”.

Oliver Haswell, mitigating, said Garcia was genuinely remorseful.

He said he had no concerns he was unfit or unable to drive with the most likely cause of the crash a loss of consciousness that happened without warning.

Mr Haswell added that Garcia was tormented by not knowing what went wrong and what caused the collision.

Judge Anthony Bate described Dawn as a "well loved nan, mum and auntie".

But he took into consideration the remorse of the defendant which he described as “deep, profound and genuine”.

On October 15, Garcia was also made the subject of a six month curfew from 8pm to 6am and disqualified from driving for 12 months. 

Garcia had previously admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving, which carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

A statement from Dawn's family said they were “disappointed” with the sentence handed out and “don’t feel justice has been done”.

But they said they respected the criminal justice system but now want to “regroup as a family”.

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