Text driver jailed for cyclist's death

Four year sentence for killing teenager

A driver who was texting when she knocked down and killed a cyclist has been sentenced to four years in jail.

Keira Coultas, of Hythe, in Southampton, was driving at 45mph in a 30mph zone when the accident happened, a court heard.

The 25-year-old denied sending a text at the time, but police checks later found she had received a message from her estranged husband moments before 19-year-old scaffolder Jordan Wickington was knocked down.

She was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving earlier this month and sentenced today at Southampton crown court.

Mr Wickington had cycled through a red light when he was hit by Coultas, who had the signals in her favour. 

When the guilty verdict was returned Coultas was warned by Judge Jeremy Burford QC that "Custody is the likely sentence for an offence of this sort” .

Coultas, a hotel manager, had her passport confiscated and her driving licence suspended, pending her sentencing.

The accident happened at the junction of West Quay Road and Mountbatten Way shortly after 7am on February 7 last year. Mr Wickington was cycling in the direction of Totton along Mountbatten Way.

Jurors at the trial heard that the teenager, who lived in Woolston Road, Netley, had momentarily stopped at the traffic lights but then went through them when they were red.

He was about two-thirds across the junction when Coultas struck him in her BMW on her way to see her estranged husband at the hotel where she worked.

The court heard that police could not understand why Coultas had not seen the cyclist and queried her speed in the 30mph limit. But when checks were made on her mobile phone it was discovered she had just received a text.

Coultas had told jurors she spent the night with her boyfriend at his Ocean Village house and was going back home to pick up her daughter so her husband could go to work.

At the junction, the lights in West Quay Road were green and as she looked to her right, she saw stationary cars in Mountbatten Way.

She said: “The next thing I remember was something in front of me. It was a bike and rider on the windscreen.”

Mr Jenkins alleged that shortly before the crash, her estranged husband had sent her a text. It read: "I hope ur up, have no bread if you want a sandwich, just let me know."

Mr Jenkins told jurors she was sending a message back when the accident occurred.

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