Janet Cotterell’s Road Safety Week campaign after husbands death

A SOMERSET widow is warning drivers about the consequences of speeding – after her “wonderful, loving and caring” husband was killed in a car crash.

Janet Cotterell, from Bristol, and her husband of 52 years Winstone, were driving along the B3134 in Burrington Combe on February 11 2018, when their car was hit by a Honda Prelude.

The couple were trapped in the car a ditch and both ended up in hospital and Winstone, who was 74, died later that day.

The driver of the Honda Prelude was jailed for three-and-a-half-years.

Mrs Cotterell, now 77, wants to warn drivers of the consequences breaking the law, for Road Safety Week (November 16-22).

Janet said: “Winstone was a wonderful, loving and caring husband, dad and granddad who doted on his family.

“While more than two years have passed since his death the pain we continue to feel is as strong now as it was then. Our family isn’t the same without him and it’s incredibly hard to accept he doesn’t get to mark family occasions such as birthdays.

“Winstone drove for a career and was always a careful driver. In our retirement we used to go out most days and Winstone would drive. I always felt safe in the car with him.

“The crash happened so quickly but the effects have lasted a lot longer.

“Not only have I lost my husband, I’m physically and mentally not the same person as before. I’m a lot more cautious about leaving the house and not as steady on my feet.

“What happened that day has changed our family forever. We know only too well the hurt and pain that can be caused by speeding. All we can hope for now is that by speaking out others realise the dangers of speeding.

“I wouldn’t want others to suffer like our family have.”

After the crash, Mrs Cotterell was taken to hospital by ambulance with a fractured chest bone, ribs and right knee – and spent more than a month in hospital.

She continues to experience pain, has reduced strength to lift items and suffers flashbacks to the incident.

So she decided to support Road Safety Week, with the help of the team at Irwin Mitchell, to encourage drivers to slow down and drive safely.

Ellie Marston, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell representing Mrs Cotterell, added: “Sadly through our work we see the devastation that families can be left to face because of the actions of others who break the law.

“Janet and the rest of her family have faced an incredibly tough few years, not only trying to come to terms with the impact of her injuries but also the needless loss of Winstone.

“What happened to Janet and Winstone is a stark reminder of the consequences of speeding and the need to drive safely. We join the family in supporting Road Safety Week.”

Mechanic Russell Vines, was testing the Honda Prelude which crashed into Janet and Winstone, and had never driven the car previously, Bristol Crown Court was told.

Aged 19 at the time of the crash, he had cannabis in his system and was driving “too fast too inexperienced in a too powerful car”, the court heard.

Vines, of Barrington Combe, was sentenced in June 2019. He had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs and causing death while uninsured.

Road Safety Week is organised by charity Brake this year’s theme is No top Speed.

Somerset County Gazette | News