Janet Macey was driving her mother’s Honda Jazz on the A229 at Hurst Green when she drifted into the opposite carriageway and crashed into a Ford Mondeo.
The incident on the afternoon of 26 February 2020 tragically claimed the life of Margaret Skeet, aged 88, from Hawkhurst, Kent, who was the front seat passenger in the Honda.
Macey, 65, of Dr Hope’s Road, Cranbrook, Kent, sustained serious injuries, as did the Ford driver – a man from Heathfield now aged 68.
Whilst at the scene, Macey told members of the public that came to assist she had suddenly fallen asleep whilst driving; she went on to confirm this in her police interview, and was subsequently charged with causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Macey pleaded not guilty and a trial was set, but she later changed her plea to guilty before the trial commenced.
She appeared before Lewes Crown Court on Monday 26 July, where she was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
She was also disqualified from driving for 10 years and will be required to take an extended re-test if she wishes to drive again.
Detective Constable Kelly Newton, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “As seen by this tragic case, falling asleep at the wheel can be devastating for the driver, any passengers and other road users.
“Any collision that occurs as a result of falling asleep at the wheel is classified as dangerous driving – this is a very serious offence which comes with a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.
“I hope this case serves as a reminder to other motorists to take steps to avoid the same mistakes.”