A van driver who killed a church minister when he ploughed into his car as he tried to connect his mobile phone to Bluetooth while eating a sandwhich has been jailed.
Reckless Andrew Minshull, 32, crashed his white Mercedes Sprinter van into the back of Dominic Culshaw’s BMW 520 when he failed to see queuing traffic while travelling at 60mph.
Tragic Dominic, a church minister, was killed instantly when his car was rammed into the car in front while Minshull escaped with minor injuries.
Minshull was not wearing a seatbelt while he tried to make his phone hands-free and munched on a sandwich in the outside lane of the A500 between Audley and Barthomley, Staffs., on May 3 last year.
Minshull was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Friday after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
Sentencing him, Judge Paul Glenn told Minshull: “This collision occurred because you were not watching the road ahead of you.
“You were using your phone, probably connecting it up so it could be used hands-free.
“That’s something you should have done before setting off.
“It’s perhaps a matter of good fortune that there were no other victims here.
“No sentence that any court can impose would even begin to compensate for the tragic death of Dominic Culshaw.”
The court heard married Dominic, from Packmoor, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., was on his way to work as a church minister in Liverpool when he was caught in a jam as he tried to join the M6 at junction 16.
Minshull, who worked for delivery firm DHL, was travelling to Crewe when he failed to see the traffic slowing down.
Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said: “The defendant travelled in the outside lane of the A500 at about 60mph.
“During this time he passed a number of other people who expressed the view that the vehicle was travelling fast.
“One witness says he was coming down at what he thought was phenomenal speed.
“It’s impossible to determine what speed he was travelling at at the point of the collision, but there is no evidence that he slowed down or was braking.
“The defendant was using his phone – he was trying to connect it to the Bluetooth technology.
“In addition the defendant admitted he had taken a bite of a sandwich shortly before the incident or at the time of the incident.”
The court heard Minshull, of Newchapel, Stoke-on-Trent, had never been in trouble with the police before.
Joanne Wallbanks, defending, said: “The character references show him to be a good, hard-working family man. He makes no excuses for what happened that day.
“He is extremely remorseful and that remorse is genuine.”
After the hearing, Pc Dave Stubbs, of Staffordshire Police, said: “It is vital that all motorists follow the rules of the road.”