A couple today spoke out after a drunken hit-and-run driver who smashed into their car escaped with a fine of just £110.
This was the devastation caused by Andrew Webster who then shamelessly tried to run away, leaving Robert Bagshaw and Irene McGarvie in their wrecked car.
Webster, who was twice the legal limit, hit the estate car at speed, spinning it round before ramming into a hotel wall near Dickson Road, Blackpool.
Webster, 26, then tried to run from the scene, but was collared by a brave dog walker until the police arrived.
Today, Robert Bagshaw, 32, who was a passenger in the car, said: “It could have been fatal; that could have been it for us.
“The way I see it is now we have a new lease of life – I honestly believe that crash could have killed us.
“In the end I think it was our seatbelts that saved our lives.”
He added: “We feel the fine is lenient considering the cost that would have been incurred by the police and paramedics attending.
“I know they have a job to do, but I think to act as a deterrent the cost of the emergency services attending should be factored in.”
Mr Bagshaw was being driven by his friend, Irene McGarvie, as the pair finished work at 5am on July 4.
They had stopped at lights on Dickson Road and after waiting were turning right on to Springfield Road when they say Webster, of Smallwood Hey, Pilling, failed to give way and ploughed into the car.
Ms McGarvie said: “I don’t know what speed he was
doing, but it was fast. I was in second gear and wasn’t going fast at all.
“All I remember was spinning around and we ended up on the opposite side of the road facing the way we had come.
“The noise of the impact will stay with us forever.”
The pair were left with lasting whiplash injuries.
Ms McGarvie also hurt her head in the impact and is still off work recovering from an injury to her foot.
Ms McGarvie said she got out of the car and saw the driver getting out of his.
She said: “I asked him what he thought he was doing, and he just started running.
“It’s not like we could chase him, so I turned to Robert to help him out of the car as he was in a bad way.”
Further down the road, near to Blackpool North railway station, a woman was walking her dog.
Seeing the man running, she stopped him and held on to him until the police arrived.
Ms McGarvie said: “She was so brave, and we can’t thank her enough.
“If it wasn’t for her, he would have got away with it.”
Mr Bagshaw added: “For him to have left us was callous – he was just thinking
about himself. I hope he has learned his lesson.”
Webster pleaded guilty to drink driving at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on July 22.
As well as the fine, he was ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge, £50 costs and banned from driving for 20 months.
Both Mr Bagshaw and Ms McGarvie, who both live in central Blackpool and work in the entertainment industry in the town, are receiving physiotherapy for their injuries.
Mr Bagshaw said: “The whole thing seems like a dream which I keep reliving over and over.
“I still don’t really know how it happened, but I look at the photographs and can’t imagine how we came out of it alive.
“Now when I’m in a car and I see vehicles coming in the
opposite direction it just makes me pause a bit.”
The duo are urging drivers to leave their cars at home if they are going to be drinking.
Mr Bagshaw said: “I don’t want what happened to us to happen to anyone else.
“If our story stops one person from getting behind the wheel after drinking, then it’s worth it.
“Look at what can happen when you drink and drive.”
They are also thanking the police and paramedics who attended the scene, and
especially the dog walker who helped detain Webster.
Ms McGarvie said: “She didn’t know us, and she didn’t know what she was getting
“He could have turned on her, or anything could have happened.
“We are so grateful.”