THE family of a loved grandmother of five who was killed by a dangerous driver have vowed to work with police to make the roads safer.

Madeline Osborne-Sawyer, 62, was on her way to pick her grandchildren when she was hit head on by an out of control Mercedes C220, on the A1086 in Thorpe Road, Horden, on Saturday February 6.

The driver, Dean Everist, already narrowly avoided two other cars in dangerous overtaking manoeuvres as he sped along the 40mph-limit road in wet, wintry conditions.

Travelling at more than 70mph, he narrowly avoided crashing into a bollard as two lanes merged into one, before colliding with Mrs Osborne-Sawyer’s Ford Focus.

Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Mrs Osborne-Sawyer’s injuries were so severe that she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Everist failed a roadside drugs test and was arrested for causing death by dangerous driving, but the 44-year-old heavy machine operator, of Fifth Street, Horden, only admitted his guilt two weeks before his trial was due to start, last month.

One of his rear tyres was found to be underinflated, which would have failed the MOT test which was due just two days after the accident.

Sentencing him at Durham Crown Court yesterday, Judge James Adkin called Everist’s driving “impetuous and aggressive” and noted he had not shown remorse for the offence until late in proceedings.

“The manoeuvre you undertook was manifestly unsafe, driving as impetuously as you were.”

He imposed a 44-month prison sentence and banned Everist from driving for 46 months.

Mrs Osborne-Sawyer’s family attended the sentencing hearing, during which a victim impact statement from her son, Lawrence, was read to the court.

“My mam was the kindest, most thoughtful, hard working woman you will ever meet,” Mr Sawyer said.

“The night she was killed I didn’t want to shut my eyes and go to sleep as I knew when I woke it was going to be the first day for the rest of my life I had to live without her.”

He added: “My mam would never speed, not even 1mph over.

“She was careful, she was safe. The day she was killed she had done nothing wrong.

“From day one I just wanted Dean Everist, the man who killed my mam, to accept what he had done and take some responsibility, even tell us he was sorry, and accept what the police evidence said he had done.

“But, he wouldn’t.”

Mr Sawyer has vowed to use his story to educate others on road safety.

He said: “My mam should not have died that day.

“If Dean Everist had been safe and slow this would not have happened.

“I hope my story will educate others, and hopefully make the roads a safer place.

“I want to help make it safer for others.

“This is the least I can do for my mam, and I think she would be proud.”

Roads Policing Inspector Kevin Salter praised Mrs Osborne-Sawyer’s family for their courage throughout the court process.

He said: “Mrs Osborne-Sawyer was a loving grandmother who was on her way to pick up her grandchildren.

“She was a safe driver and should have arrived safely but due to the selfish actions of Everist, she never saw her family again.

“This has been a heart-breaking case, made worse by Everist’s lack of remorse, and I would urge all drivers to think twice about their manner of driving and to make sure their vehicles are roadworthy.

“Mrs Osborne-Sawyer’s family have shown an incredible amount of courage since the day of the incident and we are grateful they are sharing their story to help educate others.”

This week Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit is holding Operation Brake, a road safety week led by the charity Brake, aimed at educating road users.

More information is available on Home | Brake, while further details on the force’s Road Safety Bureau can be found via RoadSafety Bureau (

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