A driver who fell asleep at the wheel has been jailed for causing a collision that left another man with life-changing injuries.
Barry Goody’s van collided with the back of the victim’s Ford Fiesta, which had been driving slowly in a queue of heavy traffic on the southbound A12 in Langham.
The Fiesta was pushed to the side of the road, and Goody’s van continued into the back of an Audi TT, which was then pushed into a lorry.
A roads policing officer came across the collision at the same time a witness had dialled 999, and he was joined by other officers, who gave first aid until paramedics arrived soon afterwards.
The 22-year-old Fiesta driver was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge with multiple serious injuries and underwent surgery for damage to his skull.
He was placed an induced coma and was in hospital for ten weeks, but had to be re-admitted for surgery to fit a cerebral shunt.
He is still undergoing treatment for his life-changing injuries.
The Audi driver was also injured but fortunately was not seriously hurt. The lorry driver was uninjured.
Goody, 41, of New House in Falkenham, Suffolk, was arrested at the scene of the collision on 10 February this year.
Following an investigation, he was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
He admitted the offence at Chelmsford Crown Court on 8 October and was sentenced on 18 November to 18 months imprisonment. He was banned from driving for three years and three months and must then take an extended re-test.
The court heard Goody (pictured below) had fallen asleep momentarily just before the collision.
The victim, who is from Clacton, said:
“I left work as normal on 10 February and was driving home, when I stopped in a line of traffic as a lorry had overturned on the A12. “The next thing I remember was waking up in Addenbrooke’s Hospital several weeks later attached to machines, unable to talk because I had a tracheostomy tube in my throat as I could not breathe for myself. “I had a collar around my neck and I could not move any of my limbs. “All the nursing staff around me were wearing masks and gowns. I was frightened and unable to communicate with them. “At the age of 22 I had to learn to swallow, talk, move arms, walk, go to the toilet and feed myself all over again. “My life will never be same again because of my injuries.”
Speaking after the hearing, investigating officer DC Alan Lamb said: “This is a really tragic case, which highlights how the briefest of moments can lead to devastating consequences.
“Driving while tired puts you and others in danger and getting behind the wheel is just not worth the risk.
“It delays your reaction times and affects your attention, awareness and ability to control your vehicle.
“Please don’t take the risk.”
Advice from the Government’s THINK! road safety campaign
Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive. Try to avoid a long trip between midnight and 6am, when you are likely to feel sleepy.
If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop (not the hard shoulder of a motorway). Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in.
Plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every two to three hours.