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Man who fled from Elton collision which killed his wife sentenced to three and half years

A man who fled from a collision in Elton which killed his wife has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison.

Joseph Francis Berry, aged 39, of Fenwick Drive in Wrexham pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving while being disqualified and uninsured. 

Berry was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday 2 August. 

On Saturday 24 November 2018 Berry was travelling on Meadow View when the black Mercedes he was driving collided with a red Range Rover. 

Berry crashed into the red vehicle head on after failing to negotiate the left hand bend, causing him to be on the wrong side of the road. Berry said he had been driving at a speed of 40mph even though he knew it was a 30mph zone. 

Immediately after the collision Berry ran from the scene towards a gap in a fence into a field leaving 37-year-old Teresa Maguire seriously injured in the passenger seat. 

She was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital and sadly died.

Berry was wanted by police and avoided arrest for up to 142 days until he handed himself in on 15 April 2019. 

A witness described hearing a loud bang and instantly jumping up within a matter of seconds to run to the window to see what had happened. 

Police Constable Liz Thompson who investigated the collision said: “A woman lost her life in such tragic circumstances due to Berry driving dangerously and exceeding the speed limit. 

“His actions after the collision are beyond disgraceful as he left not only the scene of the crash but his wife and the mother of their five children, in the passenger seat who sadly passed away.

“Berry refused to face up to what he had done by evading police for almost five months until he handed himself in. By admitting to his crimes he has spared his wife’s family and friends the ordeal of having to sit through a trial.

“Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and it comes with great responsibility to act within the rules laid down when you pass your test. 

“When you deliberately ignore those rules you put yourself and other people at great risk, as shown in the case of this terrible collision. 

“Driving dangerously and exceeding the speed limit can have catastrophic consequences and our thoughts remain with the family of the victim, who have been left devastated by this tragic incident.”

Berry was also disqualified from driving for eleven years and six months.

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