A banger car racer carried his vehicle along the M20 on a trailer which an expert condemned as the worst he had ever seen in his professional career.
Father-of-two Danny Buckle was with his wife and children returning from a race meeting when the homemade trailer broke down.
But Canterbury Crown Court heard the 26-year-old just carried on towing the poorly built trailer on three wheels.
Just after 8.15pm on October 8, 2017 it was struck by a Mercedes Sprinter causing it to jack-knife and turn over on the eastern section of the motorway.
The trailer and banger were pushed into lanes two and three and a following driver was unable to avoid hitting them after having "no time to react".
Although the van driver was later acquitted on all motoring charges, the three-vehicle pile up led to life-changing injuries for one victim.
Amateur athlete Glen Abel, travelling from London to his home in Folkestone in a Nissan, received fractures to both legs and still needs to use a stick to walk with.
Now Buckle, of Church Hill, Kingsnorth, has escaped an immediate jail sentence after admitting dangerous driving.
Prosecutor Edmund Fowler said an expert stated the trailer had no independent brake, no lights and several wheel nuts were missing.
"Your stupidity and recklessness in taking an obviously unroadworthy and potentially dangerous vehicle on the highway was a major contributory cause of Mr Able’s serious injury" - Judge Simon James
He said the trailer wasn’t capable to carrying the banger safely and the expert said it was the “worst example he had ever seen.”
Jonathan Rosen, defending, said that when one of the trailer’s wheels overheated – he made “the somewhat stupid decision” to keep on travelling.
The barrister said that Buckle deeply regretted his decision which has since cost him his marriage and his home and led to a suicide attempt.
Mr Rosen said Buckle had been diagnosed with PTSD and is suffering from depression.
Buckle, who arrived for the hearing shaking, was given an 18 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and banned from driving for three years
Judge Simon James told him: “Your stupidity and recklessness in taking an obviously unroadworthy and potentially dangerous vehicle on the highway was a major contributory cause of Mr Able’s serious injury.
“You took an unacceptable risk which has had truly disastrous consequences.”