Driver Martin Howard leaves victim with life-changing injuries after crash in Rowetts Way, Eastchurch
A driver who caused a horrific accident that led to a motorcyclist suffering serious injuries has walked free from court.
A judge told Martin Howard the victim Colin Smith had “terrible injuries he would have to live with for the rest of his life”.
Mr Smith, he said, had a broken neck fractures to various other parts of his body after the crash in Rowetts Way, Eastchurch, on June 29 2012. Blood clots also developed.
But Howard, formerly from Sheppey, was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years with 300 hours unpaid work. He was banned from driving for two years.
The father-of-five, now manager of a public house in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottingham, admitted dangerous driving.
Maidstone Crown Court heard he was driving too fast in his Citroen Saxo - up to 70mph in a 50mph limit - and too close to a car in front.
When the car in front braked, Howard did also and lost control.
One of the cars crashed into Mr Smith’s bike and sent him “cartwheeling” through the air. The bike shot into a hedge and caught fire.
As well as a broken neck, he suffered a fractured wrist and pelvis.
His ability to have children could be affected. He later returned to work as a car salesman but could only do shorter hours.
His short-term memory had been affected and he was still in considerable discomfort. He could no longer ride a motorcycle and found it difficult to drive a car.
Howard claimed his rear brakes had locked but no defects to them were found, said prosecutor Ian Foinette.
Appearing without legal representation, Howard said: “I am sorry it all happened. I wish I could turn back the clock and had not gone out that evening, then Mr Smith would not have got hurt, which I think about every single day.
“Mr Smith suffered the most horrific injuries. That is part of the gravity of what you did. On any view, the injuries will have changed his life" - Judge David Caddick to Howard
“I would not have lost my marriage and business and everything in Kent. I had four drivers working for me.”
Howard said he had been working long hours in his courier business and he was exhausted when the crash happened.
Judge David Caddick said it was a very bad example of dangerous driving. He accepted it was not a case of road rage.
He told Howard: “Mr Smith suffered the most horrific injuries. That is part of the gravity of what you did. On any view, the injuries will have changed his life.
“I appreciate you have suffered as a result of this incident. Of course, it is of your making and it is not of the order of the man who sustained the injuries.”
The judge added: “In all the circumstances I feel able to accede to the proposal a probation officer has put before the court.”
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