Grandmother jailed after drink drive crash leaves man in coma for two weeks

08/05/2015

A grandmother who drove into a man and flung him 10 metres over the bonnet of a taxi to land headfirst on the pavement has been jailed.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Lorraine Williams, 58, had been drinking double brandies to celebrate her birthday at a nearby bingo hall on August 24 last year.

She told the court that she decided to drive home because she knew the route well and it wasn't far.

But her Renault Megane drove into the side of a taxi as she came along Church Road in Liverpool, taking the taxi door off and hitting David Lovelady, 31.

He'd been getting into the back of the cab on the driver's side at around 11pm, following a night out with his wife, Terri-Anne, and friends.

Mrs Lovelady had got into the back on the passenger side but heard a loud bang as the car crashed into the taxi door. She looked out and saw her husband lying in the road.

His skull had been fractured in two places, his neck was broken and he'd suffered a bleed on the brain.

The court heard he was resuscitated by a passing student nurse after his heart stopped beating and only regained consciousness in intensive care 12 days later.

Williams, of Forthlin Road, Allerton, drove her car onto a nearby set of traffic lights after the collision and then got out of the vehicle to find out what had happened.

There were several witnesses to the incident who said Williams didn't seem to realise that she'd hit the father of three. She said she thought an object had been thrown at her car.

A blood test four hours after the crash showed her to be just under twice the legal drink drive limit.

Judge Thomas Teague QC jailed her for two years and banned her from driving for four years.

The court heard that Mr. Lovelady continues to suffer post-traumatic stress, short-term memory loss, double vision and problems with his knee.

In a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) that Mr Lovelady read to the court, he said: "I am physically battered. Mentally I am a mess, and won't ever be like I used to be. Watching my wife change from my wife and mother of my children to; my wife, MY CARER and mother of my children has been a disgrace and really hard to watch. I'm 31 years old, married with 3 children but now living with my mum, dad and brother. It's ridiculous. I've seen them having to change their lives for us."

District Crown Prosecutor, Michael Stephenson, prosecuted the case for Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service and worked with the victim and his family to ensure his VPS was able to be read out in court.

Mr. Stephenson said: "It was important that the court heard the full impact that this incident  had on Mr. Lovelady and his family. The VPS gives the victim the chance to tell the court about the aftermath of an event and how it's changed their lives. It brings the victim's voice fully into the court room, not simply to give their evidence, but to describe the full impact of the crime. The court heard that Mrs Williams is well-respected in her community and is a carer for several members of her family. But the VPS showed clearly that her decision to drive after she'd been drinking devastated the life of an innocent stranger. It was very powerful and the sentence reflects the seriousness of what happened on that fateful night."