Liam Greenhill, aged 21, had only passed his test three months before he crashed his Vauxhall Corsa on the A4117 Ludlow Road, Cleobury Mortimer on December 3 last year.
His friend in the passenger seat did not have his seatbelt on and was thrown through the rear windscreen and on to a grass verge. He suffered a broken bone in his neck and a dislocated vertebra. Greenhill, who works as a carpenter, suffered a laceration to his head.
Telford Magistrates’ Court heard how the pair had been pals for about seven years and, on the fateful night of the crash, had set off from Greenhill’s home he shares with his mother and three brothers at about 10pm for a late-night drive.
Police had stopped to chat to the men during the night, but only to make routine checks. The crash happened later on.
Greenhill, whose mother sat at the back of the courtroom, recalled clipping the kerb.
After the crash, Greenhill’s passenger was initially taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, before being taken to a Birmingham hospital to be assessed by a spinal surgeon. The surgeon said he needed an operation immediately, with bone from his hip taken to fuse his neck vertebrae. It is expected he will suffer due to his injuries “for a long time”.
When Greenhill’s car was examined, it was discovered the two front tyres were bald and would have caused the car to fail its MOT.
Greenhill, of New Road Gardens, Cleobury Mortimer, pleaded guilty to one charge of causing injury by careless driving and two charges of driving with a tyre of insufficient tread.
His lawyer told the court that “unfortunately, since the accident they [Greenhill and his passenger] have not been on as good terms. The friendship has been affected”.
A probation officer who spoke to Greenhill told the court that he was “terrified” at the prospect of custody.
Head magistrate Sarah Richards told Greenhill: “This is a very serious offence. It has resulted in some horrible injuries for your friend. I know you do regret it now. However, it still happened and we have to sentence you on what happened.
“We do know there was cannabis in your system. There is not enough publicity about how long cannabis stays in your system. Don’t smoke cannabis – and definitely don’t when you’re driving.
“You’re a young man with your whole future in front of you. Don’t come back to this court.”
The bench handed him a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and banned him from driving for 12 months. He was also fined £150 for the bald tyres and ordered to pay £339 in other court costs.