A judge has spoken of his “despair” as he jailed a Dundee van driver for four years after he caused the death of a mother-of-three.
Andrew Reilly killed Audrey Thom when he attempted to overtake while approaching a blind crest.
The 29-year-old, of Palais Court in the city centre, made no attempt to brake or steer to avoid the head-on collision with a car in which Mrs Thom was a passenger.
The driver of the car, Mrs Thom’s daughter, Louise, was confronted with Reilly’s van heading directly at her.
Advocate depute Adrian Cottam said: “Louise Thom was unable to take evasive action as there were trees on the left-hand side of the road and another vehicle in the carriageway on the right.”
The prosecutor told the High Court in Edinburgh: “As she stated, she had in effect ‘nowhere to go’.”
The car driver had just enough time to brake hard but the crash still occurred on the A914 Balmullo to Dairsie roundabout road in Fife on November 24 2015.
Emergency services took Miss Thom, 27, and her 58-year-old mother to hospital but the older woman’s condition worsened and she later died.
Judge Michael O’Grady QC said: “This court has emphasised time and again, that driving of this sort is so obviously dangerous and foolhardy and irresponsible. It has time and again warned young men of the consequences for others and indeed them, and yet I sometimes despair that that message will ever be heeded.”
Mr O’Grady said there was much that weighed in Reilly’s favour and he accepted his remorse was genuine. But he added: “There is no escaping the gravity of what you have done and the dreadful consequences which flow from it.
“I should also stress that the sentence I impose does not, nor could it, in some way put a value on Mrs Thom’s life.
“Such things are beyond value and cannot be reflected in any meaningful way.”
Reilly previously admitted causing Mrs Tom’s death by driving dangerously.
Defence counsel Matt Jackson said the father-of-two was aware that the consequences of his actions have had “a horrible impact on so many other people”.
Mr Jackson said: “He is very, very sorry for what he has done. He understands that the consequences of his criminality, because that is what it is, have had a terrible effect upon so many others.”
He also offered an apology to Mrs Thom’s family.