Dangerous driver who killed mother and son on way back from birthday trip jailed

A husband who watched in horror as his wife and son were fatally injured in a head-on crash caused by a motorist carrying out a dangerous overtake as they returned from a family holiday says his life is “ruined” as the killer driver was jailed for 13 years.

Angela Boyack, 59, and her son Stephen, 22, were travelling home to South Shields on December 9 after a weekend away in Derbyshire to celebrate her upcoming 60th birthday when the Hyundai they were travelling in was hit by Joshua Hill in his BMW X5.

Mrs Boyack’s husband William and oldest son Alex were driving two cars behind when Hill, 27, tried to overtake an Audi in front of him as he drove southbound on the A632 near Span Carr but did not have enough time to complete to manoeuvre and skidded, crashing into Stephen’s car which he was driving northbound.

In a statement read out at Derby Crown Court as Hill was sentenced on Friday, Mr Boyack, who was married for 35 years, said the lives of him and his son were “ruined”.

Prosecutor Laura Pitman told the court how Hill had been driving at speeds of up to 72mph on a 50mph stretch of road in wet weather and that the anti-lock braking systems on his BMW was faulty, which may have lessened the speed at the point of impact had it been working correctly.

He had been seen carrying out “aggressive” overtakes ahead of the crash, with one driver reporting Hill’s passenger had rolled down the window, laughed and put his middle finger up as they sped past him.

Ms Pitman said the route the Boyacks would have taken on their journey home, up the A1M, was blocked due to a crash, so they took an alternative route home on the A632 through Chesterfield instead.

She told the court how William and Alex saw Stephen’s Hyundai “jump in the air” and roll onto a grass verge after the crash, with dashcam footage from their vehicle showing them both running towards the car to try and get them out of it.

Mr Boyack ran back to his car to try and find a fire extinguisher and something he could smash the window with, returning with a claw hammer, and “knew his wife was dead” as soon as he saw her.

Joshua Hill has been jailed for 13 years for causing the deaths of Angela and Stephen Boyack (Derbyshire Police/PA)
Joshua Hill has been jailed for 13 years for causing the deaths of Angela and Stephen Boyack (Derbyshire Police/PA)

Ms Pitman said: “While this was going on, William saw Mr Hill and his passenger watching but offered no help.

“In temper he approached them and asked them if they were in BMW, but he didn’t get response. He then saw the defendant walking away as Hyundai started to burn.”

Members of the public who had stopped to help reported hearing one of them shouting “run, run” as the pair fled the scene, “no doubt realising the severity of what had happened”, Ms Pitman told the court.

While Mrs Boyack died instantly in the crash, Stephen was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and his loved ones were initially told he would survive his injuries, but he went into cardiac arrest and died shortly after.

Ms Pitman said: “[Hill] chose not to call for assistance or to attempt to speak to the police or emergency services. He chose to hide from the police and didn’t contact them to explain he was the driver, instead he left the area and went to Sheffield.

“He was effectively on the run and police went to many addresses of people who were linked to the defendant in the hope he would hand himself in.”

Hill was eventually arrested at his mother’s address in Sheffield after police threatened to force entry and during interview, admitted he had been the driver.

He told officers he “thought he had plenty of time” to carry out the overtake of the vehicle in front of him but Stephen Boyack’s car was “clearly” closer than he realised.

Hill initially pleaded not guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving but changed his plea to guilty on May 10, three weeks before a trial was due to start.

Mitigating, Hill’s barrister Simon Eckersley said the defendant was “genuinely remorseful”.

In his statement, Mr Boyack said he has “nothing by disgust and contempt” for Hill and his passenger who “stood there and did nothing” as total strangers helped his wife, who worked in a library, and his youngest son.

He said: “I cannot even begin to comprehend what happened that day, I get unbearable pains in my chest when I think about it. Losing my wife and son has ruined my life in every sense.

“She was a caring, loving wife and a loving mother. She was everything to me.

“But not only have I lost my wife, I lost my gentle giant son Stephen.

“It has been made worse by the fact he was alive and we were told he was going to survive. We talked about his recovery and what we would do to make that happen. I had to watch losing him to his injuries.”

Ordering Hill to serve two-thirds of his 13-year sentence before being released on licence and banning him from driving for 10 years, Judge Jonathan Straw said Hill had been playing “automotive Russian roulette” when he overtook the Audi.

He said: “Angela’s 60th birthday would have been on December 12, the same day you appeared at the magistrates’ court for the first time charged with her and her son’s deaths.”