A JUDGE has revealed how a pensioner was lucky to escape with her life when a car ploughed into her living room causing £22,000 damage.
Two teenagers, a 17-year-old driver who cannot be named for legal reasons and Matthew Beadie, the 19-year-old passenger from Halton Gardens, Marton, were told they had narrowly avoided a jail sentence after the horrifying crash in June.
Preston Crown Court heard how Jean Pollard, of Scott Close, Marton, was in the kitchen making a cup of tea when the VW Golf crashed through a wall and into her home after Beadie had taken his parents’ vehicle without permission.
The emergency services on the Fylde coast today launched the You’re Not Invincible campaign aimed at highlighting the consequences of dangerous driving to young people at Blackpool and The Fylde College.
Judge Russell QC, sitting at Preston Crown Court, told the pair they had only been saved from jail by references from their families and college tutors.
He added: “Mrs Pollard could have been injured and could have been killed.
“You both have to reflect on that because you are both within a whisker of being sent for custodial sentences.
“You caused some serious distress for Mrs Pollard and I don’t think your parents would like the idea of some young lads taking a car and driving it into their home.
“I think you need to realise how serious this is.”
The court heard Beadie took his parents’ car from their driveway after a day out at Lytham Club Day on Saturday, June 25, in order to drive to a nearby garage to buy cigarettes.
However, the shop was closed and on the drive home he saw his 17-year-old friend.
Beadie, who had not passed his test, was struggling to drive the car and swapped seats with his friend who took the wheel.
Mrs Pollard had got out of bed at 6.15am – 45 minutes before the incident – and was in the kitchen when she heard “a sound like an aeroplane crashing”.
Neighbours were first on the scene and found the pensioner in shock with smoke coming from the vehicle and its wheels still moving. The court was told the driver had misjudged a bend on the street.
Joseph Hart and Michael Hayton, defending Beadie and his co-defendant respectively, said their clients had immediately shown remorse for their actions.
Beadie had been to an assessment course for the Army before the crash, while his friend showed promise at college.
Mr Hart said: “This is a serious case but not the most serious case of dangerous driving. He has clearly learnt that being stupid in a car can lead to very serious consequences.”
Judge Russell said the pair had left their parents distraught and their victim terrified.
He added: “Your parents are truly shocked and you have let them down, and let them down badly.
“The car which was taken was driven in an aggravated way and caused £22,000 worth of damage.
“Mrs Pollard was frightened and out of her home until September.
“I have stepped back from custodial sentences because of the character of both of you and the letters I have from families and college.”
Beadie pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and his co-defendant pleaded guilty to driving dangerously
He was sentenced to a community order of 200 hours unpaid work, a 12 month supervision order and banned from driving for a year.
The 17-year-old co-defendant was given a youth rehabilitation order for 12 months, 200 hours of unpaid work, disqualified from the road for a year and put under a 12 month supervision order.
He was also ordered to re-take his driving test at the end of his ban.
Meanwhile, as part of the You’re Not Invincible campaign a crashed car will be placed at Blackpool and The Fylde College today.
Officers from Lancashire Police, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the North West Ambulance Service will be on hand to highlight the consequences of dangerous or irresponsible driving.