Teenage driver jailed for head-on crash - Hemel Hempstead

12/06/2015

An uninsured teenage driver, who caused a head-on crash in Hemel Hempstead which left a woman motorist fearing she was paralysed, was jailed for 25 and a half months today, Friday, 12 June 2015.

Michael McDonagh, who was then 18, fled the scene leaving Manohary Inthuvarman hanging upside down in her car which had rolled over at least once and landed on its roof.

In CCTV footage played to St Albans Crown Court, four other drivers passed by the scene and it was a lorry driver and a nurse that went to her aid.

Mrs Inthuvarman, aged 55, was treated in hospital for a broken neck, elbow and ankle. She spent six days in hospital not knowing if she would walk again.

Michael Speak, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the crash happened in Maylands Avenue at around 10 o'clock at night. McDonagh had been to a health club and was driving an Alfa Romeo in Maylands Avenue when he overtook a Vauxhall Astra, driven by a friend, at excessive speed. "The defendant went on the wrong side of an island and was on the wrong side of the carriageway when he was in a head-on collision with a Mercedes A140 driven by Mrs Inthuvarman. He went on for 20 metres or so and stopped. His car was severely damaged. The Astra parked by a bus stop and the defendant and his unknown companion got in and were driven off," said Mr Speak.

McDonagh was traced through his Health Club membership card, which was left in the Alfa Romeo, and his DNA that was on the car's airbag. He made no comment in police interviews.

In a victim impact statement Mrs Inthuvarman said she still suffered pain, was at risk of being medically retired from a job she loved and had been unable to travel to Sri Lanka to say goodbye to her dying father.

McDonagh, now aged 19, of The Caravan Site, Three Cherry Trees Lane, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving on 18 March last year.

Sheryl Nwosu, defending, said McDonagh expressed "great remorse." She said: "It was despicable behaviour to leave the scene. He did so out of fear and blind panic." She handed the judge references and a letter of apology McDonagh had written to the victim, saying he was due to be married in September.

Jailing him, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: "You were driving at a grossly excessive speed. I can't say it was racing. It was at least showing off. Your response to what happened was not to go to her aid, but to run away and leave your victim to her own fate. It was a callous disregard to the injuries you caused her."

He banned him from driving for 3 years saying he must take an extended text before driving again.

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