A WOMAN has branded “disgusting” the sentence passed on a novice driver whose failure to stop at a junction caused the victims’ family “devastating” consequences.
Lucy Mays was speaking after Chloe Cruddace was fined £60 and awarded five penalty points following her plea to careless driving being accepted by the prosecution, at Durham Crown Court.
The 20-year-old defendant, of Anvil Court, Pity Me, near Durham, who was 18 at the time of the accident, previously denied three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
It arose after the recently-qualified driver’s Ford Fiesta emerged from a junction into the path of a passing Volkswagen Touran containing four members of a family from Billy Row, near Crook.
Following the ensuing collision, the Touran was shunted into a stone wall on the outskirts of North Bitchburn, near Crook, on July 5, 2017.
The court was told driver John Mays was rendered immobile and both he and his father-in-law, James Young, suffered various injuries, including pelvic fractures.
His wife Lucy suffered a broken arm, but her mother, Rita Young, was cut from the wreckage and air-lifted to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary suffering serious multiple internal injuries.
Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said she underwent a tracheostomy and despite being transferred to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, she remained there until her death, aged 62, on August 26, 2017.
Mr Bennett said she suffered a cardiac arrest, two days before her death, and a subsequent post-mortem determined that although she never recovered from her accident injuries, which contributed to her death, a long-standing coronary artery atheroma led to the heart attack resulting in her death.
“Her death might still have occurred even if she had not suffered the injuries in the crash. There was insufficient clear evidence to charge a fatal road traffic offence.”
Mr Bennett said the defendant told police she had pulled up at the junction and looked both ways, but failed to see the Touran approaching.
But he told the court a defence motoring expert’s view that she slowed approaching the junction and would not have been travelling at above 15-miles per hour at the point of collision could not be disputed and, therefore, the Crown had to accept her plea to careless driving.
Gavin Doig, for Cruddace, said she and her passenger boyfriend were cut free from the Fiesta, and she has had multiple operations to lifelong scars to her leg.
He said she has always admitted careless driving but added: “She understands the responsibility any driver has who gets behind the wheel and she bears responsibility for the accident. She has never shied away from that.”
Judge Christopher Prince said: “This case is a paradigm example as to how much injury and suffering can be caused by those who drive carelessly.”
He said the sentence was limited by the plea accepted.
Speaking after the hearing, however, Mrs Mays said: “I’m the only one who recalls the accident.
“It’s disgusting, someone causing all that injury to a whole family, which has been turned upside down by it.”