A speeding Buxton motorist who caused devastating injuries to four people after a horrific crash has been jailed for 18 months.
James Reece, 24, of Lightwood Road, Buxton, was sentenced at Derby Crown Court today after pleading guilty to two counts of causing injury by dangerous driving at a previous hearing.
The court heard that Reece was driving at a ‘high speed’ and ‘lost control’ of his dad’s Land Rover Freelander after braking on approach to a bend on the A53 road heading towards Buxton after overtaking a vehicle at about 5.30pm on June 29 2015.
Reece’s vehicle ‘swerved’ and hit a elderly couple’s Ford Fusion car and a dad and his young son on a motorcycle. All four suffered serious injuries.
Sentencing Reece to 18 months in custody, judge Jonathan Bennett, said: “On that particular evening the lives of a number of people changed forever.
“Your actions have had a devastating impact.
“You caused enormous harm and the injuries suffered were horrific.”
Opening the case for the prosecution, Mark Van Der Zwart said that on approaching a right hand bend Reece had overtaken a vehicle in front of him and had been spotted by a lorry driver driving at a ‘high speed’.
Mr Van Der Zwart said: “He was travelling too quickly on approaching the bend and then he braked and lost control of the Land Rover Freelander.”
The Freelander collided with the front driver’s side of an oncoming Ford Fusion, driven by a woman called Maureen James with her husband Peter who was a passenger.
The Freelander also struck a motorcycle, driven by a man called Peter Limer, with his young son Jamie, aged 14, as a passenger.
Such was the force of the impact, Mr Limer and his son landed in a nearby field and suffered very serious injuries.
When emergency services arrived at the scene, Reece said: “It was my fault. I was going too fast for the corner.”
An expert who analysed the marks on the road said that Reece was probably travelling at about 66mph, although he could not give an exact speed. The speed limit for the road is 50mph. Reece said he thought the speed limit for the road was 60mph. Reece blew zero on a road side breath test.
Peter Limer suffered eight fractures to his right leg and spent three months in hospital. Following the crash, he also suffered two strokes and has still not fully recovered. Mr Limer has facial paralysis and is unable to blink and swallow and cannot hold his wife’s hand or kiss her.
His son Jamie also suffered serious injuries including two broken humerus and nerve damage.
Maureen James suffered cracked ribs, still has trouble with her back, has lost confidence and is still upset by what happened.
Her husband Peter suffered lacerations to his face and described how he was still picking glass out of his head months later. He said it was the ‘worst day of his life’ and a day he will ‘never forget’.
In mitigation, Abigail Joyce said Reece had not driven his dad’s Freelander often and was not that familiar with the A53 before.
In police interview Reece accepted that he was driving over the speed limit and that his driving was ‘careless’.
Ms Joyce said: “He is a young man who has always accepted that his actions caused these serious consequences.
“He told officers at the scene that it was his fault and that he took the bend too quickly.
“He is a young man who has shown remorse and regret.
“Shortly after the incident he wrote a letter to the Limer family.”
Judge Bennett added: “I cannot suspend this sentence.
“You have pleaded guilty but the best thing would have been to do so on the first occasion and not on the first day of the trial. So your remorse is faulted slightly.”
Reece was also on licence at the time of the incident after being given a custodial sentence of 32 months for drugs offences.
Reece was sentenced to 18 months in custody and was disqualified from driving for 55 months.