Death crash driver Andrew Minshull jailed for killing Dominic Culshaw
DELIVERY driver Andrew Minshull killed a church minister on the A500 when he ploughed his van into a traffic jam while fiddling with his mobile phone.
The 32-year-old was driving at around 60mph in the outside lane, not wearing a seatbelt, and also eating a sandwich when he failed to see the queuing traffic.
His Mercedes Sprinter van hit the back of 46-year-old Dominic Culshaw's BMW 520, ramming it into the vehicle in front.
Married Mr Culshaw, of Powderham Close, Packmoor, was killed instantly – while Minshull escaped with minor injuries.
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Now Minshull has been jailed for four-and-a-half years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.
The court heard he was working for delivery firm DHL and on his way to Crewe when the crash happened on the northbound carriageway on May 3 last year. Port Vale fan Mr Culshaw was travelling to work in Liverpool and was waiting in a queue of traffic approaching junction 16 of the M6.
Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said: "The defendant travelled in the outside lane of the A500 at about 60mph. During this time he passed a number of other people who expressed the view that the vehicle was travelling fast. One witness says he was coming down at what he thought was phenomenal speed.
"It's impossible to determine what speed he was travelling at at the point of the collision, but there is no evidence that he slowed down or was braking.
"The defendant was using his phone – he was trying to connect it to the bluetooth technology.
"In addition the defendant admitted he had taken a bite of a sandwich shortly before the incident or at the time of the incident."
The court heard Minshull, of Ian Road, Newchapel, had never been in trouble before.
Barrister Joanne Wallbanks submitted eight character references to the judge, and said her client had also written to Mr Culshaw's family.
She said: "The references show him to be a good, hard-working family man. He makes no excuses for what happened that day. He is extremely remorseful and that remorse is genuine." Judge Paul Glenn told Minshull: "This collision occurred because you were not watching the road ahead of you. You were using your phone, probably connecting it up so it could be used hands-free. That's something you should have done before setting off.
"It's perhaps a matter of good fortune that there were no other victims here."
He added: "No sentence that any court can impose would even begin to compensate for the tragic death of Dominic Culshaw."
Following the sentence, PC Dave Stubbs, of Staffordshire Police, said: "It is vital that all motorists follow the rules of the road."