A drug driver who hit a pedestrian in Dover and left him to die in a skip has been jailed.

Donna Grant was driving under the influence of cannabis when she hit a man in the dark on Thursday 17 December 2020 at around 8.40pm and left the scene.

Her car was travelling at 45 mph at the point of impact in Crabble Hill, which is a 30 mph road.

Donna Grant desktop tablet 1024 x 370 article
Donna Grant

Grant, aged 52, slowed down but did not stop and continued to drive to her home in Fairway Avenue, Folkestone.

Body found in skip

Shortly after the collision, Kent Police was called to a report of a man’s body in a skip, which was located just under a low wall. He was identified as a courier who had collected goods from a business in the street shortly before his body was found. His van was still parked in the road.

It is thought that he was propelled into the skip due to the impact of the collision and paramedics declared the man in his 50s deceased at the scene.

Car identified

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit along with forensic investigators examined the scene and found a damaged car wing mirror. The serial number revealed the car was a Ford Focus and officers studied local traffic cameras to try to identify the driver. They also cross-referenced footage of the delivery van to see if the victim’s vehicle and the offending vehicle had passed by the same cameras at around the same time.

They found footage of a Ford Focus which showed damage to the front of the car. In another shot from a traffic camera they also saw the same car on the back of a recovery truck the following day. Officers identified the driver of that specific vehicle and seized the car directly from the recovery yard on Friday 18 December. The car had a damaged light and cracked windscreen and smelt of cannabis.

At 2pm that day officers located Grant at her place of work and arrested her.

Grant admitted to the collision and said she phoned her insurance company as soon as she got home. She said she should have told the police but it was dark and she thought she had hit an animal or a bollard. She claimed she stopped but couldn’t see and so left the scene. Her phone was seized and she was taken into custody where she was tested for drink and drugs.

Internet search for ‘hit and runs’

Despite saying that she had stopped, investigators were able to determine that she slowed down following the collision but had not stopped and the following morning had searched the internet for ‘hit and run’ and ‘body found in Dover’ to see if anything had been reported. Traces of cannabis were also found in her bloodstream.

Charged

Grant was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and admitted this due to her excessive speed but disputed it had anything to do with drugs and continued to claim she had stopped at the scene. This was reviewed at a court hearing where the judge disagreed with Grant and said that the consumption of cannabis and failing to stop at the scene would be taken into consideration when sentencing her.

On Tuesday 5 July 2022 at Canterbury Crown Court, Grant was sentenced to four years in prison. She has also been disqualified from driving and will need to take an extended test before she is allowed back behind the wheel.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Claire Fullagar, said: ‘The speed in which Grant was travelling most certainly meant that she would not have been able to avoid this collision. We believe Grant knew that she had hit a person and was so worried about it she left the scene and then searched the internet to see if anything had been reported. We can’t be sure whether the victim would have survived the impact but he may have had more of a chance if Grant had called the emergency services straight away and taken responsibility for her actions. Thankfully, the evidence led us straight to the truth and she will now serve a prison sentence for the pain she has caused. I hope this serves as a lesson to her and to others. A man has tragically lost his life and now his family and friends will bear the pain of this for the rest of theirs.’

By Ed

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