Man jailed after drink driving journey leaves two people seriously injured
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A man who drove whilst drunk and skipped a red light which led to a collision that seriously injured two people last year has been jailed for his reckless actions.
Loic Freeman, aged 26 and of Bullinghope in Hereford, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 12 August, where he was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary's Roads Policing Unit attended the collision on Halfpenny Bridge in Lechlade at the end of May last year shortly before 10pm which involved Freeman, another vehicle and members of the public who were watching the NASA launch of the SpaceX rocket.
Upon attendance it was found that Freeman's car, an Audi A5, had collided with a Mercedes-Benz which was travelling along a narrow bridge operated by traffic lights.
Freeman had driven through a red light when the vehicle he was driving collided with the Mercedes, it caused the car to spin, mount the pavement and collide with a wall.
A group of four pedestrians were in the area at the time with one woman, 47-year-old Nadine Wood from Lechlade, being pinned between the Audi and a wall which caused serious injuries.
She was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford by air ambulance and was later treated for fractures to her right leg and pelvis, both of which were life changing.
As a result of the collision she now has multiple metal plates in her pelvis and blood clots within her lungs. She is still suffering from her injuries more than a year after the collision and has reduced mobility.
The front seat passenger of the Mercedes, a man in his 40s from Swindon who does not wish to be named due to still coming to terms with what happened, suffered life changing injuries to his abdomen. He was taken to Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he received an operation to fit a stoma and nearly died twice.
He too is still suffering from his injuries and like Nadine Wood has had several operations as part of his on-going treatment and care.
Freeman walked away from the scene leaving the pedestrian, Nadine Wood, trapped between his car and the side of the bridge screaming in agony, and when officers attended his whereabouts were unknown.
There were a large number of members of the public and emergency service workers who were able to assist officers in locating Freeman, who was found nearby.
He was detained by officers from Wiltshire Police, who noted that he smelt strongly of alcohol when he admitted to driving the car at the time of the collision. Officers required Freeman to provide a sample of breath and conducted the roadside breathalyser procedure, with a reading of 127; this being nearly four times the drink drive limit.
Freeman was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit and causing serious injury by dangerous driving before being charged with two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving earlier this year.
He was sentenced to three years and nine months reduced to two years and six months to allow for his guilty plea for the first offence, with the same sentence being given concurrently for the second offence reduced to 20 months in recognition of his guilty plea.
He was also sentenced to an extended period of disqualification from driving of 15 months with a further period of three and a half years to run on his release from prison.
Gloucestershire Constabulary has now released dashcam footage of the collision, with permission from the victims, which shows the recklessness of Freeman's actions and the impact it had on those who were in the area at the time.
PC Tim Griffiths said: "Freeman showed no remorse for his actions that night, and both of his victims sustained life changing injuries, in particular the
front seat passenger of the Mercedes who was extremely lucky to survive the collision as he was resuscitated twice whilst being operated on.
"In interview Freeman provided a written statement in which he said that he didn’t realise that he was over the limit and didn't feel intoxicated, and wouldn't have driven if he had, yet nearly three hours after the collision he provided an evidential sample at the Constabulary's custody suite which was still nearly three times the drink drive limit.
"The dashcam footage that we have issued, which although distressing, shows just how serious the consequences of drink driving can be and I hope that others will remember this story when considering if they are safe to drive after drinking.
"Nobody made him drive, he made the decision to get behind the wheel of his car of his own free will, to drive through the red light without regard for anyone else that night and both victims are living with that selfish act and will probably continue to do so for many years to come."