Driver who killed mum-of-two jogging in Chigwell jailed for four years

Floral tributes on Chigwell Rise for jogger Alex Weatherley who was run down and killed by a driver.

Floral tributes on Chigwell Rise for jogger Alex Weatherley who was run down and killed by a driver. He has been sentenced to four years in a youth detention centre. - Credit: Archant

The teenager who killed a mum-of-two by running her over at 67.5mph during a morning run was sentenced to four years in youth prison this morning.

On May 31 last year Zeno Popa-Tolontan hit Alex Weatherley with his car in Chigwell Rise, Chigwell, at more than double the speed limit while she was jogging.

The 41-year-old from Woodford Green was pronounced dead at the scene.

Popa-Tolontan, 19, of Dacre Gardens, Chigwell, was found guilty yesterday at Chelmsford Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving.

He will serve at least half of his sentence at the youth detention centre and is disqualified from driving for the next seven years.

Summing up the case Judge Christopher Morgan described how the teenager had picked up a friend that morning, intending to drive them both to the David Lloyd gym in Roding Lane.

He highlighted that the defendant knew the area well, and knew where to expect inclines and turns in the road.

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Yet Popa-Tolonta was driving at around 67.5mph on a stretch of road where the speed limit was 30mph at the time of the crash.

“I make no observation as to whether or not she looked before attempting to cross the road,” he said of Mrs Weatherley.

“But within two seconds of her stepping out you had ploughed into her, ending her life in a matter of moments.

“Mercifully, she would not have suffered from the collision as she was rendered unconscious.”

Before the judge delivered the sentence, prosecutor Karl Volz read a statement from Alex’s husband Dominic, outlining the impact of his wife’s death on himself and his two sons, Orlando, 12, and Ethan, nine.

“We had only just started to live our family life, we had so many good experiences to come and that has been taken away,” Mr Volz read.

“I’ve lost the future I wanted, and I feel cheated.”

Numerous factors were taken into account before the sentence was passed, including Popa-Tolontan’s previous good character and his inexperience as a driver.

Judge Morgan also credited Popa-Tolontan on his conduct in the aftermath of the incident on May 31 last year.

“After you came to a halt you never tried to run from the scene, and you have never sought to place blame on the victim.

“You are clearly a young man wracked by remorse,” he said.

“In the years to come you will have the opportunity to rebuild your life.”

Popa-Tolontan was visibly emotional in the dock throughout, and held his head in his hands as the judge read out his sentence.