A driver who took illegal drugs the night before he caused a collision in which a Wisbech father of three young daughters died has been jailed for over five years after admitting his guilt. At around 7.30am on November 17, 2022, 23-year-old Cameron Bryce was driving a blue Ford Transit on the A43 southbound between Bulwick and Blatherwycke, Northamptonshire, when he crossed onto the wrong side of the road.
There he collided with a silver DAF truck, causing it to veer into the southbound carriageway where it was in collision with a white Ford Courier van which then crashed off the road.
The driver of the courier van, 32-year-old Sam Morris of Wisbech, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Attending officers arrested Bryce on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and Northamptonshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) began a detailed investigation.
Drugs testing revealed Bryce, of Arundel Close, Thrapston, had cocaine and cannabis in his system at the time of the collision.
Bryce went on to be charged with one count of causing death by driving without due care/consideration while unfit through drugs.
At his sentencing hearing on January 31, Bryce was jailed for five years and seven months for causing Mr Morris’ death.
He was also disqualified from driving for nine years and five months and will have to pass an extended test in order to regain his licence. His driving record was also endorsed, and he was ordered to pay a £228 surcharge.
For the charge of causing serious injury by careless/inconsiderate driving, Bryce was given a further 15 months, to be served concurrently, and disqualified from driving for three years, also concurrent.
Mr Morris’ partner Katie Stone wrote in her victim personal statement how her family’s ‘whole world has been changed forever’ by his death.
She said: “The pain we have suffered is excruciating… November 17, 2022, was the worst day of my life. My heart is heavier than I could ever imagine. Knowing Sam will never come home is unbearable.
“I regularly cry just for him and what he has lost. Those moments remind me how much Sam gave to me, not only as a mother but as my life partner, my soulmate. He was my best friend and I miss all the simple things with him.
“Our three beautiful daughters have lost a direct caregiver, a person who loved and supported them with all his heart, and who nurtured and provided for them and was ready to guide them through their lives.
“Sam’s death has left a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.”
Addressing Bryce, she added: “You have forever etched a pain in my children that no matter how hard I try I’ll never remove, and for that I’ll never forgive you.”
In her victim personal statement, Mr Morris’ mum Debbie Morris wrote: “[November 17] is the day when our whole lives were turned upside down forever. My beautiful, funny, hardworking boy was killed. Sam and his brother Billie are our world and Sam has been taken from us.
“Sam was in the prime of his life, he had a beautiful family, he was doing well in his job, he was a manager of lots of men who loved and respected him.
“Our hearts are broken, and a piece is missing forever.”
In his victim personal statement, the lorry driver detailed how the collision had led to the end of his 30-year driving career and left him with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a trauma-induced neurological condition which causes seizures.
He added: “Every day since November 17 has been an unimaginable nightmare.
“Mentally and physically, I will never recover.”
Addressing Bryce, he said: “You have taken away my independence, ability to do the job I loved, provide a secure future for my children, and left me with a lifetime of unmeasurable pain.”
Bryce first appeared before Northampton Magistrates’ Court on August 4, 2023, and was remanded in custody ahead of a planned trial at Northampton Crown Court.
Two days before this magistrates’ court appearance, and while still on bail in relation to Mr Morris’ death, Bryce was pulled over by police for an insurance check while driving on the A45 near Stanwick Lakes.
Upon smelling what officers believed to be cannabis, Bryce was given a drugs wipe test which came back positive for the Class B drug, and he was arrested.
Charged by postal requisition with driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit, Bryce went on to plead guilty at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on September 13, 2023, where he was disqualified from driving for 16 months, fined £80, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a £32 victim surcharge.
Meanwhile, as the investigation into the A43 collision continued, it became apparent that the driver of the lorry Bryce had hit was experiencing significant mental trauma as a result of what had happened.
In what is thought to be at least a regional first, Bryce went on to be charged with one count of causing serious injury by careless/inconsiderate driving in relation to the psychological harm caused to the HGV driver.
On October 4, 2023, at Northampton Crown Court, Bryce went on to enter guilty pleas to both charges after making a submission that he had not taken cocaine or cannabis on the morning of the collision but had done so the night before.
Speaking after the court hearing, investigating officer Detective Constable Rae Pegg, of the SCIU at Northamptonshire Police, said: “This case represents an absolute tragedy for all the victims and their families.
“On that morning, Sam Morris was heading to work to support his family when through no fault of his own, his vehicle was involved in a collision caused by a man whose only explanation for his actions was a momentary lapse in concentration.
“Cameron Bryce chose to get behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs the previous night, and I am so pleased that his culpability has been recognised with this significant custodial sentence.
“His actions robbed three children of their loving father, and took Sam away from his partner, his parents, sibling, and his wider family and friends, all of whom remain completely devastated by his death.
“The lorry driver involved has also suffered catastrophic psychological trauma because of this collision, which has also had a significant knock-on effect on his loved ones.
“Bryce’s cavalier attitude to drug driving was summed up by his decision to get behind the wheel again after taking cannabis, despite knowing he was under investigation for causing a man’s death.
“No sentence passed can make up for the harm Cameron Bryce has done, but I very much hope that knowing he has admitted his guilt and will spend years in prison will help Sam’s family and the others affected by this collision find some peace.”