Driver who fell asleep at the wheel near Tenterden is jailed
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A motorist who fell asleep at the wheel of his car which was then involved in a collision in which a woman died has been jailed.
At 5pm on 13 April 2019, Thomas Whibley was driving his Peugeot along Cranbrook Road, Tenterden with his wife Sylvia in the front passenger seat.
As his vehicle travelled around a bend it crossed the central white lines and collided with a Nissan travelling in the opposite direction.
Patrols and South East Coast Ambulance Service attended and Mrs Whibley, aged 82, was pronounced deceased at the scene.
A woman who had been driving the Nissan suffered fractures and multiple bruises, and was taken to hospital for medical attention.
Officers from Kent Police’s Serious Crash Investigation Unit identified that 71-year-old Thomas Whibley had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea but had not sought any medical assistance after 2009 or notified DVLA of his condition.
Investigators also found Mr Whibley had fallen asleep while driving on three occasions between 20 February 2019 and 6 April 2019.
Whibley of Temple Way, East Malling was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and on 2 April 2020 pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court.
On Wednesday 22 July he was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. He was also disqualified from driving for life.
Investigating officer, Police Constable Dawn Smith said: ‘This was a tragic incident caused by a driver who was aware he could fall asleep at any moment due to sleep apnoea.
‘He caused the death of his wife and serious injury to a young mother and will have to live with the consequences for the rest of his life.
‘I would remind all motorists to remain alert for signs of tiredness and take a precautionary break from driving if necessary.
‘I would also emphasise that anybody with a diagnosed notifiable medical condition or disability that could affect their driving, should contact the DVLA at their earliest opportunity.’