Drug driver jailed after killing woman, 37, weeks before her wedding

Drug driver is jailed for 16 months after killing high-flying insurance boss in horror crash weeks before she was due to get married

  • Ella Cooper was driving with fiancé David when they were hit by a pick-up truck
  • Driver Daniel Samways, 37, ploughed into Miss Cooper’s Volkswagen in Dorset
  • Miss Cooper and her fiancé were badly injured and Miss Cooper died days later
  • Daniel Samways admitted drug driving and causing death by careless driving 
  • A reckless drug driver who killed a high-flying businesswoman only weeks before she was due to get married has been jailed for 16 months.

    Ella Cooper was driving her Volkswagen Up on a rural road when Daniel Samways smashed into her car in his D-Max pick-up truck.

    A black Audi carrying a family of four was also involved in the crash after it was unable to avoid the pile-up while travelling behind Miss Cooper in Dorset, on February 1 last year. 

    Emergency services rushed to the scene and managed to extract 37-year-old Ella who was in the car with her fiancé and driving to her father’s grave so they could lay flowers.

    She was rushed to Southampton General Hospital but despite the best efforts of medics, Ms Cooper died days later on the morning of February 7.

    It was believed her fiancé David Oliver, whom she was due to marry only weeks later, was also seriously injured in the crash.

    Ella Cooper, 37, was killed by a drug driver who claims he fell asleep at the wheel after a long day at work in Dorset

    Ella Cooper

    Businesswoman Ella Cooper, 37, (pictured) was killed by drug driver Daniel Samways, also 37, after he crashed his pick-up truck into her Volkswagen Up in Dorset in February last year

    The court heard when he came to he removed himself from the wreckage of their Volkswagen Up before his legs gave way.

    He asked the emergency services if he could see his fiancée as he was afraid that would be the last time he would get to, a court heard.

    A spokesman for Dorset Police said: ‘Samways, also aged 37 years, who was the driver of the Isuzu, was taken to Salisbury Hospital for the treatment to injuries sustained in the collision. While he was in hospital, a specimen of his blood was taken for analysis.

    ‘It was found to contain benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, at a presence of 52 micrograms per litre of blood. The legal limit is 50mg.’

    Samways, 37, was found to be over the drug-drive limit at the time of the crash having earlier taken cocaine.

    He had also drunk two pints of lager but was under the limit.

    A court heard that he had done a full day’s work at a lumber mill and was driving home at 6pm when he nodded off.

    Pictured: Ella Cooper's fiancé David Oliver (centre) and family at Bournemouth Crown Court

    Pictured: Ella Cooper’s fiancé David Oliver (centre) and family at Bournemouth Crown Court

    At an earlier hearing in Bournemouth Crown Court, Samways, of Sixpenny Handley, admitted drug driving and causing death by careless driving.

    On Friday, a judge jailed him for 16 months and disqualified him from driving for two years. His ban was due to start immediately once he was released from prison.

    Sergeant Nikki Burt, of the traffic unit, said: ‘This case is another sad demonstration of the truly awful consequences of someone getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.

    ‘Our thoughts remain with Ella’s family, who have lost their loved one as a result of Daniel Samways’ actions on February 1, 2020.

    ‘We are committed to doing all we can to take action against people who put lives at risk by driving on Dorset’s roads while under the influence of drink or drugs.’ 

    Paying a touching tribute, Ms Cooper’s family said: ‘Words can not describe the pain and loss we all feel.

    Samways admitted causing death by driving without due care and attention and while over the legal limit of benzoylecgonine. He was jailed for 16 months at Bournemouth Crown Court

    Samways admitted causing death by driving without due care and attention and while over the legal limit of benzoylecgonine. He was jailed for 16 months at Bournemouth Crown Court

    ‘A giant void has been left in our hearts and in our lives, never to be filled until we meet again.

    ‘Ella, we’re so proud of everything you achieved in your life – a life which was cut too short. Your many travels and adventures showed us all how to enjoy life.

    ‘Completing your MBA whilst working full time as head of Vitality Care reminded us all how tough and hard working you always were.

    ‘We’ll miss your generosity. Generous with your time, with your smile and with everything you had.

    ‘All who knew you were swept up in the abundant love of family and life you radiated.

    ‘You were more than just a sister, a friend, a daughter, a fiancé, an aunt, you were the very best to all of us.

    ‘We love you Ella and the world is a little bit dimmer without you to brighten it.’

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