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Driver jailed after leaving pedestrian with brain damage
8:00am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
A DRUNK driver who left a pedestrian with serious brain damage after crashing into him in Stockton Heath has been jailed for 16 months.
Warrington Crown Court heard on Monday how Paul Critchley, aged 29, was driving ‘like a man possessed’ after drinking four pints in Thelwall British Legion on March 6 this year.
He was driving back to his home in Church Street, Great Budworth, Northwich, at speeds of between 50 and 60mph when he overtook two cars on London Road.
Prosecuting, John Oates said it was ‘an accident waiting to happen, but this time it did’.
He described how victim Ian Foster and wife Pauline were enjoying an evening walk when they heard the sound of Critchley’s car careering down the road.
She told the Warrington Guardian Ian was one of the ‘fortunate ones’ to survive such a crash.
She added: “Being behind the wheel of two tonnes of metal is real life, not a computer simulation and impacts lives and families for years after.
“Ian was one of the fortunate ones to survive due to the emergency treatment and ongoing intensive care that he received.”
Mr Foster was crossing the 30mph London Road at its junction with Broomfields Road ahead of his wife.
The 49-year-old shouted a warning for her to stop before he was hit by the defendant’s silver Ford Focus.
It struck the father-of-two with enough force to smash the windscreen and flip him completely.
A doctor and nurse were driving the two cars Critchley had overtaken and they stopped to give emergency treatment, the court head.
The IT consultant was rushed to Warrington Hospital with head injuries and a broken leg before being transferred to Walton Neurological Centre in Liverpool.
He was left with serious brain damage. His family now care for him full time.
He suffers short term memory loss and has had to learn to read and brush his teeth again.
He is extremely unlikely to ever return to work, the court heard.
A ‘hysterical’ Critchley was arrested at the scene and was found to have 57 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35.
During his police interview he blamed Mr Foster for the crash.
The defendant claimed to be driving at a normal speed and said he had tried to go around his victim, but that Mr Foster moved the wrong way, the court was told.
Critchley pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.
He had only been driving for around a year after a previous conviction for dangerous driving.
Judge David Hale said he had caused ‘turmoil, pain and suffering’ to Mr Foster and his family.
He said: “By your criminal actions you’ve done all but ruin a family’s life.
“You were driving like a man possessed for no reason whatsoever.
“You were driving when you’d had a drink, well in excess of the speed limit without regard for anyone else.
“You caused life-changing injuries to Mr Foster.
“He’s the main victim but it goes beyond that.
“It’s a desperately serious situation.
“Cars are lethal weapons driven like this.”
Judge Hale added he had given Critchley the maximum sentence possible.
He was also banned from driving for seven years.