A motorcyclist has told how his life has been devastated by a mindless driver who completed a u-turn into his path which flung him over the vehicle and left him with horrific injuries.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Monday, September 18, how Sarah Jayne Gavins, 52, of School Board Lane, Brampton, in Chesterfield, made the manoeuvre on Slack Hill, between Matlock and Chesterfield, to get out of queuing traffic before colliding with Lee Oldham’s motorcycle as it was correctly overtaking a line of slow-moving vehicles.
Mr Oldham, 49, of Chesterfield, went into cardiac arrest, suffered shattered ribs, a fractured sternum and clavicle, a broken shoulder blade, broken knee caps and a brain trauma and has been left with slurred speech and dizzy spells, memory loss and difficulty walking.
He said: “I cannot describe how frightening it is to wake up in a hospital and not know how I got there and the worst thing was I could not recognise my wife or my 18-year-old daughter.
“Apart from the way it has affected my life it has had a huge impact on my family and friends and my daughter has had nightmares after seeing her Dad the way I am.”
Fellow motorcyclist and friend Gary Crowder had been riding just behind Mr Oldham when the collision happened on August 10, 2016.
He told the court: “The first time I saw the red motor car it was turning in front of Lee. Just as he got where it was it turned in front of him and I could not believe what I was seeing.
“I saw was the car turn across Lee. Lee went into the side of the rear panel and I saw him going over the top of the car.”
The court heard how Mr Oldham was flung onto a grass verge and the impact of the collision had spun Gavins’s Ford Fiesta around.
Jobless Gavins, who denied driving without due care an attention, had been travelling from Matlock to Chesterfield with family when she realised the traffic was backing up due to the Ashover Show and she decided to turn around and find an alternate route.
She claimed others were doing three-point turns and made the decision to do the same and claimed she had checked her mirrors and looked over her shoulder before turning and she had not seen Mr Oldham.
However, District Judge Andrew Davison found Gavins guilty of driving without due care and attention following a one-day trial.
He accepted Gavins had stopped before the manoeuvre but after hearing evidence from van driver Lee Davis he found she had not signalled or made safety checks and that her driving fell below the standards of a competent driver.
District Judge Davison, who said Gavins had shown no remorse whatsoever, fined Gavins £210 and ordered her to pay £1,150 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Gavins, who used to live at Matlock Green, Matlock, was also banned from driving for 12 months and will not be allowed to drive again until she has re-taken her driving test.
Following the hearing, Mrs Oldham’s wife said: “We are glad she has been found guilty but obviously the sentence is nothing in comparison to what has happened to Lee who has got a life sentence with his injuries.”
In personal victim statements read to the court former police officer Mr Oldham said his slow recovery has had a huge, painful impact on himself, his family and friends as he struggles to overcome both physical impairment and the psychological effects.
Mr Oldham, who once helped run the police community gym Ozbox for youngsters, added: “The collision has totally changed my life and I have totally lost my independence.”
Gavins’s defence solicitor Steve Brint confirmed the defendant intends to appeal against the conviction and sentence.