Killer Kettering driver got behind the wheel again days after fatal crash

He's been jailed after the tragic incident

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 3:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 8:48 am

A man who has never passed a driving test killed an elderly pedestrian in a Kettering crash - only to get back behind the wheel days later.

Michael Reid, 75, was crossing Northampton Road near the double roundabout when he was mown down by Ross Eaton in 2019.

Eaton left the scene before returning, with Mr Reid dying later that week from his serious injuries. But just a few days after that police found Eaton driving illegally again.

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Ross Eaton and the scene of the crash. Credit: Northants Police/Northants Telegraph

Today (Thursday) at Northampton Crown Court the 47-year-old was jailed for a total of 34 months.

The court heard Eaton, of Union Street in Kettering, was driving his brother's black Saab 93 without permission in the early hours of September 9.

Mr Reid was crossing the well-lit road just after 1.45am and a collision investigation revealed he was directly in Eaton's line of sight.

Eaton, who was uninsured, should have seen him. But he did not and, because of his lack of attention, drove into him.

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking QC said: "There was more than enough time to react."

Eaton did not initially stay at the scene, leaving to collect something before returning.

Paramedics were called and when they arrived at 2.09am Mr Reid was still conscious, trying to get back up.

He was taken to University Hospital Coventry but died from his injuries later that week.

Eaton later told police he couldn't understand why Mr Reid "did not get out of the way".

The court heard he implied that his victim was "almost to blame".

Yet on September 19, just after the fatal collision, Eaton was back behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi, which he had again taken without permission.

Without a licence, without insurance and with a "poor" driving record, he was arrested.

Judge Lucking QC said: "Ten days later you were driving again. That reflects a real lack of remorse."

Eaton initially pleaded not guilty to causing death by careless driving before changing his plea to guilty last month.

Today he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for causing death by careless driving. The maximum sentence for the offence is five years.

He was given a further three months for taking a vehicle without the owner's consent.

Judge Lucking QC added an extra month for a Bail Act offence after he initially failed to turn up to his hearing, with a warrant issued for his arrest before he arrived late with a "poor excuse".

He will serve at least 16 months in custody before he is released on licence.

Eaton was also given a driving ban of 11 years and four months, which will mean an effective 10-year ban once he is released from prison.

Lead Investigator, DC Mark Griffin, said: “Ross Eaton has shown a complete lack of regard for the devastation he has caused the family of Michael Reid who will have to live forever without him because of Eaton’s thoughtless and stupid actions.

“Throughout this entire case, Eaton has shown no remorse and it is incredible that only ten days after his driving stole the life of another human being, he was back out behind the wheel of a car driving illegally.

“I really hope Eaton takes the time in prison to reflect on his actions and begin to really understand the damage they have caused.

“This has been a complex case to investigate and I am pleased for the family of Mr Reid that it has come to a conclusion. No sentence will ever make up for the loss of Michael and my thoughts remain with them at what is still an exceptionally difficult time.”

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