A Lincolnshire drug-driver has been jailed for two years after crossing on to the wrong side of a main trans-Pennine road before ploughing into a car driven by a postman who suffered a spinal fracture.
Lucas Keane, 25, was at the wheel of a Volvo V40 which other motorists had earlier seen swerving on the M6 southbound before leaving at Junction 40, near Penrith, at around 6am on September 14 last year.
As Keane headed east, he cut off traffic at Kemplay Bank before continuing along the A66 towards Whinfell.
He was seen to veer initially on to the opposite side of the road and collide with an oncoming Royal Mail lorry. This caused the lorry driver to slam on his brakes and briefly enter the eastbound carriageway, and another motorist to take evasive action to avoid HGV.
Also heading west was John Jackson, from the Appleby area, driving a Ford B-Max. He saw Keane’s collision with the lorry up to 100 yards in front of him.
Prosecutor Hannah Forsyth told Carlisle Crown Court: “A second or two later he saw the headlights coming towards him but he was not able to avoid the head on collision which then took place. His next recollection is coming round in the car and feeling immediate pain in his back and left side of the pelvis.”
Members of the public helped Mr Jackson until the emergency services arrived and he was taken to Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary. His most significant injury was a spinal fracture and he underwent surgery.
In a statement taken in October, Mr Jackson spoke of being in “considerable pain” at that stage and being reliant on his wife to move about the house. “It was anticipated he would need at least six months physiotherapy in order to walk properly. It is of note that his job is that of a rural postman who takes about 25,000 steps a day,” said Ms Forsyth.
Keane, meanwhile, had to be removed from his vehicle. He also received hospital treatment, for injuries to his face and jaw. A blood sample later showed he was well over the legal driving limit for a cocaine breakdown product.
He later admitted drug-driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. The court heard his previous convictions included drink-driving and failing to provide a specimen.
Keane, of Queensway, Grantham, wept as he was jailed for two years by Lord Justice Edis, who noted the defendant, a father, had been “making a significant effort” with a local church to mend his ways.
But the judge said of his offence: “You, or Mr Jackson, or both of you could so easily have been killed.”
Keane, who must serve a three-year driving ban when released from custody, said to a woman in the public gallery as he was led to the cells: “Tell my kids that their dad loves them. I’m flipping sorry for what I’ve done.”
— Court reporting by Craig McGlasson for The Lincolnite