Head-on crash ‘idiot’ jailed

Richard Downie
Richard Downie
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A MOTORIST who caused a head-on collision by overtaking “on the blindest of bends” is today behind bars.

Preston Crown Court heard how Richard Downie was at the wheel of his cousin’s Ford Cosworth, driving him home as a favour, when the serious crash took place last August.

The 70-year-old man in the other vehicle involved ended up spending four months in hospital, needing around the clock care, as a result of the shocking injuries he sustained.

He was left with a broken left arm, torn tendons in his other arm, as well as twisted and blocked intestines while his partner suffered a broken femur and punctured lung.

Downie, 35, of Vulcan Road, Freckleton pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and also not having insurance.

The crash happened on Weeton Road, Weeton, on August 6.

Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, said Downie overtook on a blind bend and a head on collision followed.

The court heard a woman motorist who saw how fast he had been driving previously had said “look at this idiot”.

When he took the corner on the opposite side of the road, the other driver had veered to his left to try to avoid a crash but the Cosworth ploughed into the car.

The court heard that due to their injuries from the crash, police only felt able to take a statement from other driver eight months after the collision.

Downie had not been a named driver on the insurance policy for the Ford vehicle.

A large number of references on behalf of Downie were handed in at court for Judge Christopher Cornwall to consider.

Sarah Booth, defending, said Downie had been doing a favour for his cousin who had ME and had not felt well enough to drive.

She added: “He has no previous convictions, has worked all his life, is a family man respected by all and has ruined his reputation in what can be described as a brief time of madness and poor judgment.

“He made a devastating mistake which has had an extremely salutary effect on him and his life. He recognises it is good fortune that there wasn’t a fatality.

“What happened will haunt him for the rest of his life.”

Jailing him for four months, Judge Cornwall told Downie: “You made what could very easily have been a fatal decision to overtake, on what seems to me as the blindest of left hand bends.

“Though I take no pleasure in it, there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence in the circumstances.

“You or anyone else can’t do such terrible harm to other innocent members of the community and expect to retain your liberty.”

Downie will be banned from driving for two years and must take an extended test before driving again in future.