A MOTORIST whose dangerous driving of a new car caused a horror head-on smash on the A69 near Carlisle which left a mother and daughter badly hurt has been spared immediate prison.
Scott Russell Brown, 52, overtook several vehicles – giving another driver “a fright” having “appeared from nowhere” – while travelling west at around 3-40pm on January 18, 2019.
But around eight miles from Carlisle – near Brampton – Brown pulled out to go past an HGV in a Subaru Impreza vehicle he’d bought earlier that day. Wearing new varifocal lenses on a road unfamiliar to him, he failed to heed warning signs and road markings approaching a left-hand bend and collided head on with an eastbound Peugeot 107. This was seen by an eyewitness to “jump in the air and spin round”.
Seventy-year-old Peugeot driver Linda Armstrong was left “screaming in considerable pain” having suffered a fractured hip, rib fractures and lacerated spleen. She underwent surgery during a two-week hospital stay, was in severe pain for months and can no longer drive.
Her injuries proved life-altering. She now had permanent foot drop, underwent physiotherapy and psychological appointments, and now walked with a stick. Ms Armstrong, from the Hexham area, was said to have gone from being extremely fit to an “old disabled lady” by her daughter Katie Baron – a Peugeot passenger who suffered a fractured pelvis which left her completely off her feet for a week.
Ms Baron had since switched her NHS job from nurse to carer in the aftermath.
Brown, a married father and stepfather, hard-working with no previous convictions, admitted two charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
After hearing mitigation and reading references, Recorder Tom Gilbart suspended a two-year jail term for 18 months. Brown, of Westercrofts, Biggar, must complete 250 hours’ unpaid work, a rehabilitation activity requirement, three-year driving ban, and must pass an extended re-test.
Recorder Gilbart heard Brown had since expressed “significant regret and remorse”. “It shouldn’t have taken this incident for you to understand that cars are potentially lethal weapons – they obviously are,” he said.
“The consequences of what you did are quite appalling. They were two innocent road users driving quite properly and minding their own business.”