THE HEARTBROKEN family of a Silloth woman who died because her boyfriend drove too fast in icy conditions are backing a campaign that urges motorists to match their driving to weather conditions.

Lana Maddison, 19, was a rear seat passenger in a car that was being driven her boyfriend Joseph Rowland in November, 2021.

Despite icy road conditions, he attempted to negotiate a bend on the A591 near Keswick at more than 50mph, losing control of his Ford Fiesta and crashing into a tree.

Lana sustained a fatal head injury.

As Rowland today began a ten-month jail term for causing her death by careless driving, police issued a plea to other motorists, urging them to always adjust their driving style to the weather conditions.

Professional drivers who attended the crash - including paramedics and police officers - said it was unsafe to travel at more than 30mph, given the freezing conditions.

Judge Nicholas Barker told Rowland that his speed on the evening of the crash – estimated to be about 55mph four seconds before the crash – would have been appropriate had the weather been dry and warm.

But in the bitterly cold and stormy conditions of November 28, 2021, as Storm Arwen battered the county, his speed was a deadly miscalculation.

Even his front seat passenger had asked him to slow down.

Speaking after the case concluded at Carlisle Crown Court, Detective Constable Caroline Middleton, of the force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said “This is a tragic incident which resulted in the death of 19-year-old Lana.

“Cumbria was experiencing the effects of Storm Arwen which saw experienced emergency service drivers reporting dangerous conditions and having to adjust their driving accordingly.

“Those poor conditions and Rowland’s speed resulted in a loss of control and sadly the loss of Lana’s life.

“We are urging drivers to always drive to the road conditions in front of them and to consider weather warnings as potential hazards such as ice may not be visible.”

The depth of the tragedy was underlined movingly in court as a police officer read the victim statement prepared by Lana’s mum, who spoke of her daughter's plans to complete her degree in mental health nursing at the University of Cumbria.  News and Star:

The full text of the statement was as follows:

“Since Lana’s tragic death our lives have been completely shattered; we are absolutely devastated by our loss; there is no colour in our lives anymore, just grey.

“She was kind and thoughtful, always ensuring all her friends were included and just being a true friend to all, she was full of life and energy a real little pocket rocket.

“She made our little family complete in so many ways.

“Lana and her brother Luke had a fantastic relationship. They would be constantly playing practical jokes on each other.

“She would fill her brothers drinking-bottle up with hot water instead of cold; they would go to the shop to buy snacks and order takeaways. They watched silly videos and movies together, laughing and giggling.

“Luke was a protective big brother not that Lana needed protecting as Luke had shown her his boxing skills.

“Lana was her dad’s Liverpool footy fan.

“She would race down the stairs with pre match team news. They would shout, scream and celebrate together. She would never miss a chance to go in the car with her dad exploring new pool venues.

“Lana was not only my daughter. She grew to become my best friend we would confide and support each other, spending hours, choosing clothes, sharing shoes and bags, trialling make up. She loved her mam curling and plaiting her hair.

“Our home was full of fun, love and laughter.

“It’s difficult to see a future for us as our beautiful daughter will no longer be a part of it.

“All the little things we talked about and her plans for the future, a career in mental health nursing, she would have made a fantastic nurse and a real loss to the whole community.

“We live each day as best we can, with the beautiful memories she left us with in our hearts eternally.” 

* Joseph Rowland, from Thursby, admitted causing Lana's death by careless driving. He was banned for three years, with a five month extension, to reflect the period he will spend in custody before he is released on licence. He will have to pass an extended retest before he can drive independently.