Jail for Woman Who Killed Pal in Horror Crash; Victim: Passenger Shawn Smith; Dangerous Driver: Laura Hastie Was on the Wrong Side of the Road When She Collided with Another Car, Killing Her Friend
Byline: DAVE FINLAY
A WOMAN who killed a friend when she lost control of a speeding car wasjailed yesterday for 32 months.
Bank of Scotland employee and car enthusiast Laura Hastie, 24, had to be cutfree from the driver's seat of her Ford Puma, but Shawn Smith was found dead atthe scene.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard yesterday that 19-year-old Mr Smith' s deathhas had a 'devastating' impact on his family.
The judge, Lady Dorrian, told Hastie there was no alternative to a prisonsentence for the offence. She took into account that Hastie was a firstoffender with a good work record and that neither drink or drugs was involved.
But she added: ' There were repeated attempts to overtake when it was not safeto do so, at excessive speed on a bend, and the result has been utterly tragic.'
The judge told Hastie she would have faced a three-and-a-half year jailsentence, but for her guilty plea. Lady Dorrian also banned her from drivingfor five years and ordered that she re- sit the extended test before drivingagain.
The case comes as statistics show the number of youngsters killed on Scotland'sroads has soared, with one in three of all victims now aged under 25.
In the first six months of this year, 45 young drivers and passengers died -almost two deaths a week and a rise of 28 per cent on 2006.
The court heard that Hastie and Mr Smith had shared an interest in cars.Advocate depute John Scullion said they appeared to have met on a computerwebsite for motor enthusiasts and had known each for about two months at thetime of the fatal accident on August 31 last year.
Mr Smith, who came from Edinburgh, had finished work as a window cleaner andgone home to get changed before leaving to meet Hastie, who was employed as abusiness expert with a bank.
Men travelling in a car turning into the city's West Shore Road became aware ofHastie's Puma behind them - the road has a series of bends with a warning signand is covered by a 30mph speed limit.
Mr Scullion said Hastie increased her speed and overtook the other car as theywere approaching a bend in the road. He said: 'The accused's car was still onthe opposing carriageway as it reached the bend, as she had failed to come backon to her side of the road after overtaking. …