Woman 25, jailed 14 months for dangerous driving after killing partner

Mother-of-two, 25 who killed her boyfriend, 22, in a violent car crash as they left a Centre Parcs to buy drugs and saw him thrown 20 METRES from her Kia Ceed is jailed for 14 months

  • Demi-Elise Michaud, 25, jailed 14 months for causing death by dangerous driving
  • Michaud was ‘distracted’ as she crashed into a bollard in Backbarrow, Cumbria
  • Partner Matthew Brown, 22, was sent flying from the vehicle over 15 metres away
  • The pair were on their way to buy drugs before the crash on November 27, 2019 

A distracted driver on a late night jaunt to buy drugs has been jailed after crashing into a bridge bollard with such force it snapped her partner’s seatbelt and threw him from the car.

Father-of-one Matthew Brown, 22, tragically died in the accident off the A590 near Backbarrow, Cumbria, in the early hours of November 27, 2019.

He was later found 15 to 20 metres away from the wreckage with injuries that were deemed ‘unsurvivable’.

His girlfriend and the mother of his child, 25-year-old Demi-Elise Michaud of Ulverston, Cumbria, pleaded guilty to causing Mr Brown’s death by dangerous driving. 

She admitted she was distracted by her partner urinating in a bottle in the front passenger seat as she drove at 60mph while making a turn.

At Preston Crown Court yesterday, Michaud was jailed for 14 months and banned from driving for two years, with a judge adding she must take an extended retest before regaining her licence.

Demi-Elise Michaud, 25, was at the wheel of her father’s Kia Ceed when she collided with a bridge on the A590 between Backbarrow and Haverthwaite

Matthew Brown, 22, had one child with Michaud and was a ‘loving stepfather’ to her child from a previous partner

The court heard how mother-of-two Michaud had driven a grey Kia Ceed out of Centre Parcs, near Penrith. She and Mr Brown headed south on the M6 before exiting onto the A590.

As she was driving out of Backbarrow, Michaud attempted to negotiate a sweeping right-hand turn. However, the nearside of the vehicle collided with the slate stone parapet of a bridge.

The crash was so forceful that Mr Brown was ejected from the car.

A later examination of the vehicle revealed the force of the impact was so severe it had caused Matthew Brown’s seatbelt to snap.

Officers who attended the scene described it as being one of ‘total devastation’. The car itself was unrecognisable, due to catastrophic nature of the damage. 

Michaud, who was fortunate to escape uninjured, told officers at the scene that she had lost concentration prior to the crash.

In her police interview Michaud gave ‘no comment’ responses to all questions. However, she admitted the offence at court.

Passing sentence, Judge Robert Altham said: ‘A subterfuge had been created as to why they were leaving.

‘It’s unattractive that they were going to buy drugs, but in terms of aggravating the driving, I don’t think it’s an aggravating feature.

At Preston Crown Court yesterday, Michaud was jailed for 14 months and banned from driving for two years, with a judge adding she must take an extended retest before regaining her license

Cumbria Police said Mr Brown (left) would now be the father of a two-year-old child and that the crash was ‘entirely avoidable’ if Michaud (right) had been driving carefully

‘What really is her fault is that if she is in charge of a car at 60 miles per hour on a dark night, her passenger is urinating in a bottle and she’s distracted by that, she is responsible for taking care of the car.

‘I must then reduce the sentence to reflect her credit for a guilty plea. This gives a sentence, after credit of 25 per cent, of 14 months imprisonment.

‘There are factors in favour of suspending however I cannot lose sight of the fact that this offence resulted in the loss of life.

‘This is an offence, appropriate punishment for which, can only be achieved by immediate custody.’

Sergeant Lee Hill of Cumbria Police said: ‘This was a tragic case which resulted in a young man – who would now be the father to a two-year-old child – losing his life.

‘It is undeniable from the impact of the collision that Michaud, as well as driving at an inappropriate speed, had been driving dangerously and without caution.

‘The collision did not involve any other vehicles and was entirely avoidable, had Michaud been driving with anything approaching due care and attention.

‘It is extremely important that we all as drivers give the road our full attention at all times and do not allow ourselves to be distracted at the wheel.’

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