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Driver jailed for eight years after grandmother suffered life-changing injuries in Telford crash

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | Crime | Published:

A grandmother suffered life-changing injuries when a dangerous driver crashed into her car at high speed in Telford.

Linda Pitchford was airlifted to hospital with six broken ribs, a broken pelvis, internal bleeding and a damaged spleen which was subsequently removed following the incident, in Donnington Wood Way, on March 25 last year.

She was critically hurt when uninsured driver Daniel Luke Jones, 25, who was driving at speeds of up to 90mph in a BMW struck her VW Polo, coming to rest on the bonnet.

As stunned onlookers came to the trapped woman's aid Jones fled on foot from the scene, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.

Miss Samantha Powis, prosecuting barrister, said: "At about 1.50pm Mrs Pitchford decided to go to the Asda car wash. When she got to the island she became aware of a white BMW veering out of control and travelling at massive high speed. Witnesses say it was going 70 to 80mph.

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"This defendant was the driver. He came round the island, clipped the kerb and was described as something taking off towards her car. Miss Pitchford who initially lost conciousness awoke to find his car right across her bonnet."

Miss Powis told the hearing that moments before the collision Jones, of Stanwyk, Sutton Hill, had been spotted by police officers using his mobile phone at the wheel. She said that he was seen to drop it, before speeding off.

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She told the court he committed the offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving while already on bail after being arrested for major drug offences alongside Gemma Buxton, 34.

The pair had been arrested at the Buckatree Hotel near Wellington on January 11 last year after being found in a room with quantities of crack cocaine, heroin and a box of cannabis with a total street value of £5,000 and £225 cash, along with drug-taking gear.

Miss Powis said just weeks later Jones and Buxton simply "restocked" supplies and were again arrested, this time after they checked into the Premier Premier Inn, Donnington, and staff also suspected them of drug misuse and dealing activity.

'Depressingly common picture'

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Sentencing Jones, Judge Jonathon Gosling said he had been driving at speeds of up to 90mph: "The injuries to Mrs Pitchford were severe and life changing. You have a substantial criminal record and you had no insurance.

"All these factors put you close to the maximum of five years for this type of dangerous driving offence. However, I have to give regard to totality."

He added that his drugs activity was a "depressingly common picture".

At a previous hearing Jones admitted causing Linda Pitchford serious injury by dangerous driving, and he and Buxton each admitted possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine and possession of cannabis.

Jones was jailed for a total of eight years and six months for all his offences. The father-of-three was also given an extended road ban of seven years and three months relating to the crash.

Mr John Wyn Williams, mitigating for Jones who has previous convictions, said: "He says he wants to apologise publicly to Mrs Pitchford. There is no way of minimising his behaviour."

For the drug offences Buxton, a mother, of Market Street, Oakengates, was jailed for five years and six months.

The defendants must serve half before being released on licence.

They must also pay the victims' surcharge. Judge Gosling ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and equipment seized.

Following the sentencing he apologised to Mrs Pitchford for the delay in concluding the case.

Critical injuries

The court heard that the victim, who was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, will be on medication for the rest of her life due to the critical injuries she suffered.

Speaking to the Shropshire Star afterwards, 67-year-old Mrs Pitchford, who was present in court, said: "I have no bitterness towards him. The main thing I wanted was to see him dealt with and not be in a position to do it again to somebody else.

"It's the fact that at the time of the crash he didn't face up to what he had done and ran off. A month later he went and got another car.

"It wasn't just me that he hit that day.

"I found it quite hard to learn in court that there were children in another involved and they saw what happened. Let's hope that he will learn his lesson.

"I am getting there, but I am on medication for the rest of my life due to losing my spleen and it was a shock to see the scar I was left with. I was in a lot of pain afterwards.

"One good thing to come out of it is that I now have an Midland Air Ambulance saving tin and I would love one day to meet the crew who airlifted me to hospital.

"All this from a simple journey to the car wash on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully I can move on now and put 2018 behind me."

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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