USAF Staff Sergeant who had only been in the UK for two months banned from driving after causing death of 75-year-old Suffolk man in crash

David Rolfe, who died in a three-car collision in West Row

David Rolfe, who died in a three-car collision in West Row - Credit: Archant

A USAF Staff Sergeant has been banned from driving after causing a head-on crash which resulted in the death of a 75-year-old man, a court has heard.

Candice Griffin, who had only been in the UK for two months, failed to see on an approaching car when she pulled out from an exit at RAF Mildenhall onto West Row Road on October 15 last year.

Ipswich Crown Court was told that Griffin, 25, of Friesian Close, Beck Row, was in collision with a Peugeot car driven by Alison Newell.

That collision pushed the Peugeot into the path of a Mazda being driven by David Rolfe, of Mildenhall, who was unable to avoid a head-on crash. Mr Rolfe sustained fatal chest and neck injuries.

Prosecutor Michael Crimp said Mr Rolfe was not believed to have been wearing a seatbelt and the airbag in his car failed to deploy.

Police accident investigators concluded Griffin had turned from the exit road at the wrong angle or had momentarily begun to turn to travel on the wrong side of the road.

Joanne Eley, representing Griffin, said her client had expressed considerable remorse and accepted that the collision was her fault.

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Miss Eley said: “She cannot forgive herself. She is a young woman and this will, of course, live with her for ever.”

Griffin said she had looked in both directions before beginning her move out of the airbase road but failed to look right for a second time.

No stop signs were in place at the exit road at the time of the accident although they have since been installed.

Miss Eley said Griffin was well aware of the requirement to drive on the left of the road in the UK and refuted any suggestion that she had not been doing that when the accident happened.

As a result of the case, it was possible that Griffin who is due to be redeployed to South Korea next September, would be demoted within the USAF.

Griffin, who pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, did not possess a UK driving licence but was using her US licence at the time.

As well as banning Griffin from driving for 12 months, Judge John Holt sentenced her to a community order with a requirement to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

In addition she must pay £1,500 prosecution costs.

After Griffin’s sentencing, Pc Jason Lambourne from the joint roads policing and firearms unit said: “This case shows why it’s always important that you take an extra look before pulling out.

“With the dark evenings and poor weather conditions, it’s even more vital to be checking as many times as needed in order to be sure that you’re safe to move without endangering other road users.”