Published: 00:00, 01 October 2015
| Updated: 13:45, 01 October 2015
A van driver left a young motorcyclist with serious injuries after causing a head-on smash by driving on the wrong side of the road.
Jacob Brown was flung off his Honda motorbike, which became lodged in Robert White’s Citroen Berlingo van.
The 20-year-old victim suffered a fractured sternum and left arm, a bleed on the brain and internal injuries. He fears his injuries and ongoing effects could put paid to his ambition to become a firefighter or to join the military.
White, of Park Road, Sheerness, was jailed for 16 months and banned from driving for two years after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Mr Brown was riding along Queenborough Road, Halfway, on May 3 when he could see the van coming towards him.
Prosecutor Anna Arnone said: “He tried to take avoiding action. The only way he could do it was to head across the wrong side of the road. Unfortunately, the van also switched direction and there was a head-on collision.”
Mr Brown was thrown from the motorcycle. He remembers his head hitting the windscreen of the van.
The air ambulance was called and he was flown to hospital. Miss Arnone said White appeared to have been drinking.
He failed a roadside breath test and refused to comply with the procedure at the police station. The 56-year-old appeared in court without a lawyer and represented himself.
“I can’t see the point,” he said. “I have got no excuses. I have done it, and that’s it.”
Mr Brown sat in the public gallery as Ms Arnone read a victim impact statement on his behalf.
Asked if he wanted to offer any mitigation, White said: “I am really sorry for what happened. I hope Mr Brown recovers and does what he wants to do in his career.
“I have no memory of what happened or why I was on the wrong side of the road.”
Judge Jeremy Carey said the victim suffered grievous injuries and the prognosis was uncertain.
“This is a bad case of its kind,” he said. “I have no doubt in the cold light of day you realise how serious this is.
“You wish it had never happened – but it did, and you must take the consequences.”
White will have to take an extended test before he can drive again. Judge Carey said White had a business which he ran from home.
His wife, who suffers from arthritis, feared the business would collapse if he were sent to prison.
The judge told White: “I take it into account but it doesn’t lead to the conclusion you will not go straight to prison .
“The maximum sentence is five years. The minimum sentence I can properly impose for causing serious injury by dangerous driving is 16 months.”
Mr Brown told in an impact statement how he suffered nightmares about the last few seconds before the van hit him. “I wake up sweating,” he said. “I had the same nightmare each night for a fortnight.”
The accident had made him afraid of riding his motorbike again. “I love motorcycles,” he declared.
It had also affected his application to become a firefighter. “I have always wanted to go into the fire brigade,” he continued.
“I also feel I have been a burden on my parents. They have had to drive me to King’s College Hospital (in London) a number of times.
“I have been affected mentally and emotionally. I missed the freedom and release of riding my motorcycle.” Mr Brown had finished college in July and had not been able to work.