A lorry driver from Ashby ran a red light before crashing into an “loving and generous” 82-year-old grandmother, killing her instantly because he was distracted.
Paul Russell, 66, of Staley Avenue, was legally using his Bluetooth hands-free mobile when his HGV smashed into the driver's side of Jill Turk's Vauxhall Corsa, which overturned.
The incident led to police urging people to avoid distractions when behind the wheel, and a campaign, backed by 400 people, was set up to improve a “dangerous” junction.
Russell has now pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving following the crash in Eastbourne Road, Lingford, Surrey, on August 17, 2016.
Following Ms Turk's death, a campaign set up by her granddaughter to improve safety at the "dangerous" A22 junction of Eastbourne Road and Ray Lane was backed by more than 400 people.
Sergeant John-Paul Davis from Surrey Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “This is a tragic case which has resulted in the death of an 82-year-old woman and has been devastating for her family and friends.
“Witnesses who followed behind Russell on the day described his driving as immaculate. This will have a far reaching impact on Russell and his family as, although the court recognised he did not set out on his journey to cause the death of another person, that is sadly what happened.
“What it shows is that even if you are legally using your hands free and a professional driver, you can be prone to distraction which can have the most devastating consequences.”
In a victim impact statement read out in court his family said: “Learning that my mum had been killed in such horrific circumstances, was beyond the most dreadful circumstances that I have ever encountered.
“Since then, coming to terms with mum’s death and trying to comprehend that I will not see my lovely mum is totally devastating. I am struggling to deal with the loss every day as do my husband and sons.
“My mum was a thoughtful, loving and generous person. At the time of her death she was on her way to visit her old school friends to deliver blankets that she had knitted for children in Africa.”
When sentencing Russell, Judge Roger Chapple said: “By your actions you have cost the life of a wholly innocent person. She is known to have been a fit and active lady who was thoughtful and kind.”
On the issue that Russell failed to see the red traffic light the judge added: “The fact that you were on the phone must have had a great deal to do with that.”
Russell was given a two-year suspended sentence when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Friday, July 21, as well as a five-year disqualification from driving with an extended retest being required.