Sleeping driver walks free after killing beloved wife and mother

Denise Yeo, 50, of Liskeard was killed in a crash on the A390
-Credit: (Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)


A driver has been sentenced for causing the death of a beloved mother in Cornwall by dozing off at the wheel. . 50-year-old Denise Yeo was killed in a crash on the A390 at West Taphouse around 3pm on May 20, 2022.

Ivana Coleridge, the driver of a green Ford Fiesta involved in the crash, was sentenced at Truro Crown Court on Friday, May 31, after admitting to causing death by careless driving. At the scene, Coleridge told officers that she momentarily fallen asleep behind the wheel.

On the day of the fatal accident, Coleridge, 41, from Widegates near Looe, was driving from Lostwithiel towards Liskeard when she approached a junction to Braddock Church.

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Coleridge swerved across the lane for oncoming traffic and into the mouth of the junction where Denise, from Liskeard, was situated in her Citroen C3. The collision resulted in Denise being rushed to hospital where she died several days later due to injuries sustained in the collision.

Helen Lentern, from the Devon and Cornwall Police Serious Collisions Investigation Team, said: "This case highlights the tragic consequences of falling asleep at the wheel. There are usually 'warning signs' that you are too tired to drive, such as needing to put the window down or turn up the radio, weaving back and forth between lanes, you may have trouble maintaining the correct speed, and may be unable to react in time to a hazard.

"Tired drivers have slower reaction times and suffer from reduced attention, awareness, and ability to control their vehicles. Research suggests driving tired can be as dangerous as drink or drug driving.

"At the first sign of tiredness, drivers must stop in a safe place and take a break, drinking two cups of coffee or an equivalent caffeinated drink is recommended along with taking short nap of around 15-20 minutes."

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Judge Simon Carr gave Coleridge an eight-month custodial sentence, which was suspended for two years. Coleridge was disqualified from driving for 18 months.

In the wake of Mrs Yeo's death, her family issued a heartfelt tribute. Her husband said: "Denise, my beautiful wife, loving, proud and devoted mother, daughter, sister, auntie and friend to so many, so cruelly taken from us. She was loved by so many and has left family and friends devastated and heartbroken at her loss. Always in our hearts."

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