Grandmother spared jail over fatal crash
A 64-year-old woman who caused the death of her teenage granddaughter when she lost control of her car has been allowed to walk free from court.
Madeline Santucci careered into a motorcyclist and flipped her Kia Sportage on to its side, killing Dennikia Lambert, who was a passenger in the vehicle, and seriously injuring biker Charles Whited.
Yesterday, at Supreme Court, Santucci was spared an immediate prison sentence. Instead, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves imposed an 18-month jail term suspended for 18 months.
“These types of cases are always tragic and painful,” Mr Justice Greaves said. “The loss of a child or grandchild or even family member through driving, of the grandmother as it was in this case, is indeed painful.
“A severe sentence would add nothing or very little to help the amelioration of the pain and loss suffered.
“The family ought to be allowed the opportunity to work together to resolve these issues for themselves.”
The court heard that the reasons for Santucci losing control of her vehicle on the afternoon of July 27, last year remained unknown.
Her lawyer, Charles Richardson, said that his client had a history of seizures at night but had never had a seizure while driving before.
Mr Richardson also revealed that Santucci had not driven since the fatal accident, which occurred at the roundabout of Dock Hill, Frog Lane and Palmetto Road in Devonshire.
“The last thing she remembers is driving along the road, the next thing she woke up being raised by the medical personnel,” Mr Richardson said.
Mr Justice Greaves urged Santucci never to get behind the wheel again.
“My express desire is that you never drive again because there is the chance you have a medical condition that could cause you to suffer from seizures; the risk of driving is too great.”
The court heard that Mr Whited sustained a deep cut to his head as a result of the accident.
He also needed skin grafts and was off work for six weeks.
Santucci had previously pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and causing grievous bodily harm by careless driving.
As part of yesterday's sentence she was banned from driving for five years.
At the time of her death, Ms Lambert was remembered by her school principal as “smart, vivacious and full of vitality”.
Berkeley Institute principal Phyllis Curtis-Tweed said the teenager had an outgoing personality and enjoyed taking part in dance and sports.
She described her as an honour student who had just finished her S1 year at the school, and would have commenced S2 in September.
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