“Aggressive” driver who hit and killed Chesterfield man near Chatsworth jailed for six years

An “aggressive” driver who fled the scene after killing a Chesterfield man by hitting the car he was travelling in “head-on” – losing control a blind bend – has been jailed for six years.

Friday, 13th May 2022, 3:05 pm

Neil Tait, 44, was arrested two days after the crash on the B6012 near Chatsworth - which killed 93-year-old Jonathan Weeks and left his daughter with serious injuries.

Derby Crown Court heard Tait denied he was the driver and “named” another person as responsible, lying to a jury that a sheep ran into the road and caused him to swerve.

Witnesses to the tragic crash on July 27, 2019, had to identify Tait in an identity parade as he maintained his innocence.

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Tait was jailed for six years and six months

He was eventually found guilty after a trial of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Judge Robert Egbuna said Tait had told a jury a “litany of untruths” and had shown “no remorse or reflection” for his actions.

The court heard Tait had 38 convictions for 81 offences - six of which were for driving while banned.

However just 19 days after Mr Weeks’ death Tait - who had not held a licence for 20 years - was arrested for driving while banned.

On the day of the crash the court heard Mr Weeks’ daughter Teresa Warrington was driving along the B6012, as her father liked to look at the deer.

In a witness statement she described seeing Tait’s car - taken without consent from another - “directly in front of us” on a bend.

Judge Engbuna told Tait: “Your driving was such that it gave Teresa Warrington no chance to take evasive action.

“You failed to negotiate a corner and drove directly onto the opposite carriageway - which was partially blind.”

During Tait’s trial an expert witness - an advanced driver - said Tait’s speed approaching the bend was 60mph.

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He added that the maximum safe speed for such a corner was 45mph.

The judge said: “Prior to the accident you were driving in an aggressive manner - witnesses observed you trying to overtake on three occasions.

“One of them commented you were ‘an accident waiting to happen’ - sadly her comments turned into a reality.

“Tragically, as a result of the collision Mr Weeks died on August 2 - as a result of her injuries his daughter sustained serious injuries”.

The court heard Ms Warrinton was left with neck, chest and back injuries and a fractured foot - attending Tait’s February trial over two-and-a-half years later still in crutches.

Tait was arrested two days after the crash - however he gave no comment replies during his police interview.

“You were interviewed and were undoubtedly aware that Mr Weeks was not expected to survive - you were neither remorseful nor reflective,” said Judge Egbuna.

He added: “You named another person as being responsible for the accident - you suggested a sheep crossed the road, causing you to take evasive action.

“Your account to the jury was a litany of untruths - you would do anything to escape responsibility for your actions.”

Tait, of Reney Avenue, Greenhill, Sheffield, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

He was jailed for six years and six months.

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