Jailed: 'Drugged-up' nurse who took prescription painkillers before killing grandfather in car crash

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Cerys Price had taken prescription painkillers before driving into grandfather Robert Dean's car (Wales News)

A nurse who caused the death of a pensioner after driving while on prescription painkillers has been jailed for five years and four months.

Cerys Price, 28, was in a “drugged-up state” when she crashed into 65-year-old Robert Dean’s car in July 2016 on the A467 near Newport, south Wales.

She crossed into the opposite carriageway while suffering a seizure and ploughed into a car driven by Mr Dean, who was on his way to a family party.

He died instantly from his injuries.

Judge Michael Fitton QC told Price as he sentenced her: "You've destroyed your good name, your prospects, and brought grief to your own family.

"You are perfectly capable of addressing the issues in this case to rebuild your life. You are perfectly capable of making yourself a caring, useful member of society as you once aspired to be.

"You will recover from this. Robert Dean has been denied that opportunity."

Price was found guilty in December of death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving (Wales News)

Price, from Brynmawr, was found guilty in December of death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving to her ex-boyfriend, Jack Tinklin, who was in the car with her at the time of the crash.

Price, the daughter of a driving instructor, spent around a month in hospital following the crash after suffering a knee injury.

It was while she was treated in hospital for her own injuries that a blood sample taken from her revealed a high level of the painkiller Tramadol in her system.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Price had consumed an amount of tramadol "significantly higher than any therapeutic range" and was in "no way fit to drive a car”.

Robert Dean died after Price crashed into his car (Wales News)

The painkillers had been bought by price while she was in Mexico.

Police found a tub of the tablets in her smashed vehicle's glove compartment, with only 26 of its 100 pills remaining.

Price denied she had taken excessive amounts of painkillers before her journey, claiming someone else had taken painkillers out of the tub, and said her history of suffering epileptic seizures explained why she lost control of her vehicle.

But a jury found her guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, and also causing serious injury by dangerous driving in relation to now ex-boyfriend Mr Tinklin.

Mr Dean’s wife, Anne Dean, said the couple were days away from celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary.

She said in a statement: "I totally relied on him and he was my rock. I feel totally lost and empty.

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"He was a wonderful husband, son, father and grandfather."

Speaking after she was found guilty in January, Mr Dean’s daughter Helen Howell said: "The way in which a loving husband, father and grandfather was taken from us was so unfair, and the impact on our family has been devastating.

"The hurt will never go away, and again we eat our Christmas lunch with an empty chair at the table.

"Justice has been a long time coming, and we finally feel now that we can attempt to draw a line under it without being constantly reminded of how he died."

Her sister Katherine Harris added: "The catastrophic effects of opioid abuse, tramadol in this case, was the reason our dad innocently died that day.

Price was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court (Wikipedia)

"He was on his way to a family gathering, to celebrate my daughter - his granddaughter's - birthday.

"We all have a responsibility as drivers to ensure the safety of others by adhering to the proper standards expected of us, and Cerys Price fell woefully short.”

Kelly Huggins, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Being a qualified nurse, Cerys Price should have known the dangers of driving after taking these tablets, but she drove nevertheless.

"Her actions resulted in tragic consequences for an innocent motorist, her passenger and herself.”

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