Uninsured and disqualified driver who left his partner to die after a crash is jailed
A uninsured and disqualified driver who ran away from the scene of a crash and left his partner dying in his car has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
The Crown Prosecution Service said that Joseph Berry, 39, ran away, after the Mercedes car he was driving hit a Range Rover head on, on Meadow View in Elton, Cheshire, at 8.40pm on Saturday 24 November 2018.
The Mercedes had careered into the wrong lane of the road when the crash happened. The 57-year-old driver of the Range Rover got out and started screaming for help. She noticed that the driver’s door of the Mercedes was open but Berry wasn't there - he had run off across a nearby field.
As people living nearby came to help, they noticed Teresa Maguire, 37, Berry’s partner and mother of their five children, was lying, hunched in the foot well of the passenger seat of the Mercedes. She was groaning.
She was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital where she was operated upon, but she died the following morning. Berry went on the run for 141 days following the crash. He finally handed himself in at Blacon police station in Chester on 15 April 2019.
Berry was disqualified from driving at the time of the crash. He was also uninsured and failed to report the crash to the police.
He had taken the Mercedes from where it was parked at The Stables caravan site in Elton where Berry lived with Teresa and their children. He told police he had taken it to take his wife to the shops.
He eventually pleaded guilty to three charges, causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by driving while disqualified and causing death by driving while uninsured.
He was jailed for three years and six months today (2/8/2019) at Chester Crown Court and was disqualified from driving for 11 years and five months. He must do an extended driving test before he is considered qualified to drive again.
The driver of the other car in the incident was also injured and has suffered some hearing loss since.
Neil Colville, for the CPS, said: “This was an appallingly selfish and reckless act on the part of Joseph Berry. He should not have been driving at all as he was disqualified and did not have insurance.
“But he took his partner and mother of his children out and drove so dangerously that he crashed head-on with another vehicle and caused his partner’s death.
“He then ran away, leaving Teresa alone to die. He continued to try and escape from what he’d done and was on the run for more than three months.
“He eventually pleaded guilty but that is of little consequence in the face of such utterly appalling behaviour.
“He is now in prison and his children are without both their mother and their father. The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank the other driver in this case and the witnesses for their help, both at the time and since, in building this prosecution.”
Notes to editors
- Neil Colville is a District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Mersey-Cheshire