JAILED: Hit-and-run man killed care worker driving at 75mph on wrong side of Walsall road
A banned driver who killed a care worker while driving at twice the speed limit on the wrong side of the road has been locked up.
Lewis Jukes, 20, was test driving a Peugeot with three passengers inside when he hit Kulwinder Kaur at 75mph in Beechdale, Walsall, last month.
Today he was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison after admitting killing 52-year-old Mrs Kaur, who was on her way to care for a client when she was hit by the car on Cavendish Road.
Mrs Kaur, also the primary carer for her autistic son, was described as "the gel that held our family together" by her husband Sawinder Singh in an emotional statement read to Birmingham Crown Court.
The court heard that the three passengers who were inside the hatchback - including its owner - screamed at Jukes to slow down as he sped along the 30mph residential road at eye-watering speeds.
There were gasps from the public gallery as CCTV showing Jukes hurtling along Cavendish Road was shown to the court.
After hitting Mrs Kaur, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Jukes dumped the damaged car on nearby Gurney Road and fled alongside the three passengers.
However later that evening the passengers told police what had happened and Jukes was arrested four days later.
Jukes, of Providence Lane in Leamore, Bloxwich, pleaded guilty to five offences: causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, failing to provide information about an accident, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
He had three previous dangerous driving offences on his record, one of which he'd received a custodial sentence for four months earlier.
Sentencing, Judge Mark Wall QC told Jukes over a video link: "You used Cavendish Road as a test track for a vehicle that you had taken out that day.
"The speed you were travelling at was shocking."
The court was told how Jukes had met the car's owner Simon Bennett on Hadley Way, around half a mile from where the crash happened, at around 12.30pm on September 12
Jukes was interested in buying the vehicle - despite the fact he was disqualified - and took the car for a test spin around nearby streets, with Mr Bennett, Declan Price and another passenger inside.
Mr Hugh O'Brien Quinn, prosecuting, told the court what happened next: "The defendant has reached Cavendish Road and pushed on the accelerator and continued to speed.
"He reached a roundabout and went all the way around before coming back at speed.
"The defendant has then accelerated even harder. All the passengers inside the vehicle were screaming at him to slow down.
"Declan Price has told police he was scared and held onto the headrest.
"Tragically, Ms Kaur was crossing Cavendish Road when the defendant sped along.
"She has crossed the road more than half way when she was struck by a speeding Peugeot on the wrong side of the road. The driver didn't even stop."
Mr Price told police he "feared for his life" and thought Jukes was driving at "100mph" before the crash happened at around 1pm.
Two of the passengers were arrested after handing themselves in soon after the crash but were released without charge after "fully co-operating with the police".
'We will have to live with this struggle'
Jukes, who refused to answer questions after visiting a police station four days after the crash, wrote the court a letter before his sentencing and cried in court as the victim impact statement was read out.
Mr Singh's statement said: "This fatal collision has had a huge impact and major repercussions on my son and my family. We are so hurt and tragically changed.
"Kulwinder was a caring and hardworking mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
"My wife was the gel that held our family together. She was the primary carer for our autistic son.
"Myself and my son are suffering and we will have to live with this struggle for the rest of our lives."
Defending, Stephen Cadwaladr, said: "He recognises the pain he has caused the family and he is more sorry than people could know. He said in the letter he never intends to drive again.
"He never intended this and this has impacted on his life. He also recognises this won't impact on his life like it has on Kulwinder's family."
As well as the jail sentence, Jukes was disqualified from driving for eight years and eight months.
Det Sgt Paul Hughes, from West Midlands Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "Jukes was driving at motorway speeds along a 30mph residential road.
"The judge at today's hearing described the speed Jukes was travelling at as 'eye-wateringly fast'.
"Excess speed in any case is never acceptable but motorway speeds like this through a residential street is nothing but despicable.
“Our thoughts remain with Mrs Kaur’s family after their tragic and unexpected loss.”
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